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Collection of Zachęta in the Count Raczyński's Mansion House

Apr 2 2015

From 15 April 2015, a selection of works from the collection of Zachęta — National Gallery of Art will be exhibited in the Count Raczyński's Mansion House at Plac Małachowskiego 2 in Warsaw. The exhibition "TRUTH BEAUTY GOODNESS. From the Zachęta gallery collection" is an extensive presentation of works from the 60s up until now. The exhibition has been organised by Zachęta – National Gallery of Art together with Kulczyk Silverstein Properties, who is providing the premises for this prestigious artistic event. Entry is free of charge.

The exhibition will showcase the most important Polish contemporary works of art that are part of the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art collection. Works by 31 artists will range from unquestionable classics (Henryk Stażewski, Alina Szapocznikow, and others) to pieces by the major critical artists (including Zbigniew Libera, Joanna Rajkowska) as well as works by the younger generation (Julita Wójcik, Agnieszka Polska, and others). The flagship will be Katarzyna Kozyra's video "The Rite of Spring".

"The exhibition's title originates from the theme of one of the works, namely the photograph by Jadwiga Sawicka, where the words "TRUTH BEAUTY GOODNESS" are scratched on a plastic bottle. This is quite ironic if you recall that these are the terms used by conservative critics, who decry modern art as being devoid of ideas and unfaithful to ideals. Is this right? Maybe artists are consistently and stubbornly continuing to show us (critics and the public) the unwanted truth, even if this only questions the good and beauty in the contemporary pop version." – states Hanna Wróblewska, the curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition "TRUTH BEAUTY GOODNESS. From the Zachęta gallery collection" will be on display in the Count Raczyński's Mansion House at Plac Małachowskiego 2 in Warsaw. Today, the building is owned by Kulczyk Silverstein Properties, who together with HOCHTIEF Development Poland restored the building to its former glory, by undertaking a complete refurbishment and adding a new wing. The project was successfully completed in 2014. Although the underlying purpose of the building is currently an office function with commercial space on the ground floor, it is readily making space available for prestigious artistic events. This fits in with the broader context of activities related to the promotion of Polish art and culture by Jan Kulczyk. In 2013, for his commitment in this area Jan Kulczyk was decorated with the Annual Award by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The Małachowskiego square has had a creative spirit for hundreds of years, and for centuries, Mazowiecka street has been a place where artists and Warsaw’s intelligentsia met. It was a place that fostered spiritual development. At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries two Masonic Temples were located at the Małachowskiego square. During the interwar period Jan Lechoń, Antoni Słonimski and Julian Tuwim, famous Polish writers, were frequent visitors to Mazowiecka street.

A venue for the exhibition was found and made available through the initiative of Katarzyna Kulczyk, Vice Chairperson of the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts (Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych). Going back to 1860, it was the Society that initiated the creation of the national collection. Since then, however, the Zachęta gallery has had to restart building the collection from scratch a number of times. The first items after the second World War were captured by the National Museum in Warsaw. Only in the 90s did the drive and persistence of directors and curators together with the generosity of artists allow for the steady and consistent accumulation of exhibits. Part of this collection is on display at the exhibition ”TRUTH BEAUTY GOODNESS. From the Zachęta gallery collection”. The role of the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts has changed. Today, the Society is involved in the support of the Zachęta gallery by undertaking educational activities and promoting contemporary art.

"Right from the outset, the Management Board of the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts has been involved in educational and cultural projects. This opportunity for exhibiting a large selection of the Zachęta gallery collection to the broader public is exceptionally important for us. Some of these works have not been shown for years, and the Zachęta gallery collection itself has not been the subject of any separate exhibition for a long time." – says Katarzyna Kulczyk.

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, as one of the few cultural institutions decided to share its collection on the web as a part of the Open Zachęta project. A great deal of the collection is available on  http://otwartazacheta.pl/  . In addition to reproductions of the works that are made available under an open license, it presents content-related and educational materials as well as audio descriptions and exhibition-related documentation.

The exhibition organised in the immediate vicinity of the Zachęta gallery is a follow up of the idea of revitalizing the Malachowskiego square. The architectural contest for a new vision of the square was concluded last year by the efforts of the Alliance for Małachowskiego Square Revitalization (Koalicja na rzecz Rewitalizacji Placu Małachowskiego) that brings together institutions of culture, business, science, religion in the surrounding of the square, namely Zachęta - National Gallery of Art, the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, the Lutheran Parish of the Holy Trinity and HOCHTIEF Development Poland Sp. z o.o. / Kulczyk Silverstein Properties as well as the City Centre Authorities and the Warsaw Public Spaces Authorities (Zarząd Terenów Publicznych). Soon, the magnificence of the nineteenth-century Małachowskiego square will be restored in contemporary form. This section of Warsaw with architectural timelessness of the buildings exposed will be opened to residents and visitors as a space to host art and cultural events, and leisure activities.

TRUTH BEAUTY GOODNESS. From the Zachęta gallery collection

Exhibition curated by: Hanna Wróblewska in cooperation with Julia Leopold and Robert Rumas
Exhibition designed by: Robert Rumas

The artists: Marta Deskur, Janusz Kaczmarski, Jerzy Kałucki, Łukasz Korolkiewicz, Katarzyna Kozyra, Zbigniew Libera, Maria Pinińska-Bereś, Agnieszka Polska, Joanna Przybyła, Joanna Rajkowska, Józef Robakowski, Erna Rosenstein, Robert Rumas, Jan Rylke, Jadwiga Sawicka, Kajetan Sosnowski, Henryk Stażewski, Alina Szapocznikow, Grzegorz Sztwiertnia, Jerzy Treliński, Małgorzata Turewicz-Lafranchi, Bogdan Anastazy Wiśniewski, Julita Wójcik, Jerzy Ryszard „Jurry” Zieliński, and others.

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