Leopold Buczkowski. Glimpses of History, Fleeting Images
Leopold Buczkowski's oeuvre, both literary and visual, is characterised by mosaicism. According to the artist, history is a collection of flashes, which function in the collective memory as fleeting, fragmentary images. His world, as he himself said, rich in people and events, inspired him to create works that are collages of interpenetrating stories and scenes.
ms2, Ogrodowa 19
Leopold Buczkowski (1905-1989) is known to a wide audience mainly as a prose writer. He is the author of novels such as: "Czarny potok” [Black Torrent] (1954), "Uroda na czasie" [A Fashionable Beauty] (1970), "Oficer na nieszporach" [An Officer During the Evensong] (1975) or "Kamień w pieluszkach” [A Stone inside Nappies] (1978). Few people know his visual work which is equally interesting, but less known. As an artist Buczkowski used drawing, photography, graphic, water and oil techniques, collage, and in the late phase of his work also spatial forms - sculpture and assemblage.
The exhibition 'Leopold Buczkowski. Glimpses of History, Fleeting Images’ is the first such comprehensive presentation of his artistic output. The vast majority of the works at the exhibition are being shown publicly for the first time. This presentation is possible thanks to the recent acquisition by the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź of Buczkowski's artistic legacy.
According to many researchers, the diversity of narration visible in Buczkowski's works echoes the multiculturalism of Podolia in the 1930s, where the author spent his childhood and youth. Leopold Buczkowski's drawings from this period are a record of the landscape, buildings and community living in several villages in Podolia, in the vicinity of his hometown Podkamienie. Veristic drawings, as well as photographs depicting the inhabitants of Podolia, reflect Buczkowski's documentary flair, who skilfully recorded the social, economic and historical conditions of living in the borderland.
The dramatic turmoil of war took the artist to the Warsaw district of Żoliborz. During the war, his role as a writer and artist was redefined. Realism, known from his pre-war works, gave way to deformations, which only increased the expressive power of his paintings. Buczkowski's drawings from this period show a reality subjected to military oppression, a nightmare experienced by civilians tormented by heartless soldiers. For the artist, the uniform becomes a symbol of brutality which distinguishes the torturer from the tormented victim.
The post-war stage of his work includes, inter alia, a series of allegorical historical drawings, which in a humorous, sometimes grotesque way juxtapose figures from different eras and different geopolitical contexts. By creating them, Buczkowski challenged the division of history into that of "great personalities" and "ordinary people", showing the latter as victims of what has been decided at higher decision-making levels.
Painted in the 1950s, his abstract paintings allow us to see their author as an artist in search of new formal solutions. His paintings combine spontaneity of gesture with geometric structure, his painting experiments are oriented towards deconstruction of the painting composition. Arrangements of geometric forms, in a surprising way, become a pretext for recalling events from everyday life, overheard conversations or observed scenes, or even important historical events such as battles and wars. Among the paintings of the 1950s and 1960s, those constructed from superimposed painting surfaces stand out. Pieces of plywood or fibreboard used in the works herald the spatial forms from the final stage of Buczkowski's oeuvre - assemblages and sculptures.
The motifs taken from the iconography of folk art, such as figures of saints or images of the Virgin Mary appearing in his sculptures are a return to Podolia, with its simple, archaic spirituality. From the end of the 1960s, the garden around the artist's house in Konstancin-Jeziorna was filled with sculptures; by changing their configurations, Buczkowski created peculiar performances out of them.
The exhibition will be held in the sanitary regime, therefore the number of places will be limited. The limit does not apply to people who have a valid certificate of vaccination against COVID-19. Presenting the proof of vaccination is voluntary. We encourage you to take advantage of this option and prepare the document (QR code) in advance.
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ms2, Ogrodowa 19