If you ever decide to visit Zakopane, avoid the main Krupówki street (it’s a really bad looking commercial street…), but check out the “niche” places, like the Willa Koliba and Willa Oksza, or the amazing Władysław Hasior Gallery. Born in 1928 in Nowy Sącz, Władysław Hasior is one of the most remarkable modern, Polish artists. From 1959 he participated in every regional Zakopane artist ehxibitions and Art School Complex painters performances. In the 60s and 70s, Hasior showed his works on many national and foreign exhibitions. His works were transported from small workshop to the gallery by Jagiellońska street in 1984. The gallery was located inside former resting site of “Warszawianka” sanatorium, built by Wacław Nowakowski in 1935. Wooden resting site had two floors, glazed from south. Thanks to this transformation, the multilevel ehibitional interiors were created, often used as concert halls and living rooms or atelier of Hasior. In Władysław Hasior Gallery, various artworks found their place, like banners, assamblages, compositions and sculptures made from “trash” materials and junky, everyday items. Bearing metaphoric, ironic and contrary titles, they provoke reflection on the modern world and art, just as Poland’s history.
The Jaszczórówka wooden church constructed by Stanisław Witkiewicz in Zakopane
The Tratra mountains in Poland aren’t just beautiful nature, but as well an important epicenter of Polish culture. The origins of the Zakopane Style go back to the late 19th century, when the Arts and Crafts Movement was in full bloom. It was created by Stanisław Witkiewicz, who settled in Zakopane in 1890. The Zakopane Style was the first Polish national style that went beyond the framework of theoretical postulates and could be carried out in practice, not only in Zakopane, but also in many other places in Poland, particularly in the Austrian and Russian partition zones. Stanisław Witkiewicz came across this idea in 1898. The inspiration for the Zakopane Style was therefore more the Ruthenian Style, which the artist could have encountered in 1868–1872 during his studies in St. Petersburg. In 1886, after his first trip to Giewont, he wrote: “…the highlander hut is a higher sort of construction in which the practical features are decorated in an expression of certain aesthetic needs. This is less raw material than a fairly developed style from which one might evolve a new and independent type of building.”
The first home in the Zakopane Style was Zygmunt Gnatowski’s Koliba Villa, which Witkiewicz built in 1892–1894. Witkiewicz considered the highlander carpenters and woodcarvers to be co-creators of the architecture he designed. The Koliba Villa was meant to settle all doubts as to the possibility of reconciling folk architecture with the requirements of the more complex and refined demands of comfort and beauty. According to Stanisław Witkiewicz’s precepts, the Podhale hut was to be the model for the Zakopane Style villa, which the Polish artist sought to make the Polish national style. Furnishing the hut with stylish furniture and other everyday items of his own design was his point of departure. His main task was to use the characteristic attributes of folk furnishings, “artistically employing” the constructions themselves. Ornament was shifted to background, though in many cases it was an important element. Podhale folk ornament, much like that of other regions, was mainly limited to geometrical and plant motifs. In the Zakopane Style this repertoire was expanded with motifs of the flora of the Tatra Mountains.
Willa Koliba & Willa Oksza
The first attempts to use Podhale ornament in artistic crafts involved carving ornament on wooden furniture – chairs, beds, and a screen. Based on designs by Magdalena Butowt-Andrzejkowiczówna and adapted by Franciszek Neužil, this furniture was produced by the Professional School for the Wood Industry in Zakopane for Countess Róża Krasińska in the 1885/1886 academic year. Beginning in 1887, this decorative movement was promoted by the school and was called the Zakopane Style. Stanisław Witkiewicz was critical of this furniture, mainly for its construction “without regard for the shapes of the original highlander pieces.” The failed attempts of the Wood Carving School inclined him to adopt the “highland style” himself. In the course of five years the first villa furnishings in the Zakopane Style, some to his designs, emerged in the Koliba, Oksza, Zofiówka, and Pod Jedlami villas. Attempts were made to harmonize the furnishings with the villa architecture, while “every detail” was to be “covered with highlander ornament or given highlander shape” to fill the interiors, while also creating designs “that had never been seen in highlander huts.”
The Zakopane style dominated architecture in the Podhale region for many years. Although the cutoff date for buildings designed in the Zakopane Style of Architecture is usually held to be 1914, many new pensions, villas and highlander homes are built according to the architectural model devised by Witkiewicz to the present day. The museum of the Zakopane Style of Architecture located in the Villa Koliba provides visitors with information on the Zakopane style.
Willa Oksza (Witkacy’s paintings), store with local craftsmanship & Bachleda Resort Hotel.
Berlin is alive and doing fine! And it blooms with great art events. Presented across almost 3000 m² of Gropius Bau‘s historic space, Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective offers an overview of the key periods in Kusama’s oeuvre, which spans more than 70 years, and feature a number of current works as well as a newly realised Infinity Mirror Room. The retrospective focuses primarily on tracing the development of Kusama’s creative output from her early paintings and accumulative sculptures to her immersive environments, as well exploring her lesser-known artistic activity in Germany and Europe. Since the 1960s, the artist has been actively engaged in realising exhibition projects outside the former centre of her life in New York and showing her work in a European context. This has also brought to the fore Kusama’s role as a pioneer of personal branding, who early on in her practice intentionally staged and marketed her own artistic persona and multidisciplinary work. Within the exhibition framework, reconstructions allow viewers to experience the pioneering nature of her presentational forms and artistic subjects, making accessible Kusama’s early exhibition projects in Germany and Europe in the 1960s and central solo exhibitions in the USA and Asia from the 1950s to 1980s. It seems that everybody knows Yayoi’s art, but there’s just so much more to her work than the signature, XXL polka-dots.
Till the 15th of August 2021 / Gropius Bau / Niederkirchnerstraße 7
Sometimes, completely out of the blue, you discover something truly incredible on Instagram and can’t stop thinking about it. Artist Domenica More Gordon adds a special touch every year during Arts & Science‘ holiday season. This year too, her charming works are joining the highly-curated Japanese store (which actually requires separate post!). As a special project for 2020, Arts & Science received her one-of-a-kind handmade embroidered mini-bags from Scotland. Domenica has personally sewn by hand her dogs, birds, and plants on original A&S fabrics combined with her collection of used leather from horse gear. The handsewn features is like a good luck charm – an “amulet” as well as being functional bag to keep small items. The embroidery work unique to Domenica is a must see, the pieces reflect the exact same touch of her illustrations – but this time sewn onto an accessory. In the artist’s words, “I made these bags to contain not just the small essential items of modern life, phones, credit cards and keys, but also the larger and less tangible things like joy, pleasure and happiness. I like to think of them as practical amulets to help fend off the unsettling nature of these times. Making these bags gave me huge pleasure and I hope that they may do the same for you.” The 12 pieces are up for sale as a “blind auction” on Arts & Science on-line store. In addition, the pieces are exhibited at Arts & Science Aoyama until, well, today. One of those bags would be an amazingly charming gift!
I can’t recall the last time I was so moved by an ad campaign visual coming from a brand. And I would never expect such pleasure to come from Carolina Herrera. To celebrate the label’s autumn-winter 2020 collection, inspired by the works of Spanish Baroque painter Francisco de Zurbarán and the idea of ‘One Grand Gesture’, creative director Wes Gordon collaborated with Russian artist and photographer Elizaveta Porodina to create a portfolio of images shot entirely over Zoom (!!!), capturing ballet dancers around the world in fearless and fabulous movement and color. Elizaveta captured six dancers around the world from their homes and studios throughout the quarantine: Natasha Diamond-Walker, soloist at Martha Graham Dance Company, Ako Kondo, prima ballerina from Melbourne, Misa Kuranaga, principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, Inès McIntosh, quadrille at Opéra National de Paris, Claudia Monja, the principal dancer of Joburg Ballet, and Wendy Whelan, the associate artistic director of New York City Ballet. “The winter collection was about the idea of One Grand Gesture – a billowing sleeve, the most pigmented color, an unforgettable silhouette. The fine line between drama and restraint. I wanted to further explore this concept with photographer Elizaveta Porodina, whose work I have always admired“, Gordon sums up. Here’s a sublime feast for your eyes and mind after a rather stressful week of uncertainty and frustration…
All photos by Elizaveta Porodina – discover her work here!