Warsaw: Anna Bilińska’s Retrospective


Anna Bilińska was the first Polish female artist to gain international recognition. Her first solo retrospective at the National Museum in Warsaw takes place just now, in 2021, but it’s better late than never. Bilińska used oil paints, pastels and watercolours to create portraits, still lifes, genre scenes and landscapes in the style of European realism. The artist brilliantly mastered the basics of the painting technique, evidenced by her academic studies of models, which strike the viewer with their synthetic approach to the form and with their casual technique of painting. Of course, the artist also simultaneously continued the clear contour style, exemplified by her Male Nude Study (1885), Study for a Male Nude (ca. 1884-85) and Boy Nude (ca. 1884-85). Sketches for the historical and biblical compositions which Bilińska created in her youth have similar qualities but also display a bold expression of colour juxtaposition, as exemplified by Joseph Interprets Dreams (1883) and Inquisition (1884). Bilińska’s mature works consist predominantly of portraits and portrait studies of various ethnic types which were fashionable at that time. These pieces merge the refined simplicity of realism with an academic discipline of the painting technique, such as Head of a Serb (ca. 1884) or Old Man with a Book (ca. 1890s).Bilińska’s self-awareness and thoughts on the artist’s position in the world, which manifested itself in, among others, the representation of her own image in self-portraits, make her works so powerful. And still, the artist’s entire oeuvre and life story have yet to be thoroughly analysed and rediscovered…

The exhibition is on view until 10th of October 2021.

The National Museum in Warsaw is worth a visit in general! Here are some of my favourite artworks, especially from the 19th and 20th century galleries, from Józef Mehoffer’s enchanting Stange Garden to Jacek Malczewski’s prophetic visions.

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Berlin: The Museum of Natural History

Sometimes, I feel like going to a non-fashion and non-art place! The Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science – is an integrated research museum within the Leibniz Association. It is one of the most important research institutions worldwide in the areas of biological and geological evolution and biodiversity. As an excellent research museum and innovative communication platform,the institution wants to engage with and influence the scientific and societal discourse about the future of our planet, worldwide. Their vision, strategy and structure make the museum an excellent research museum. Alongside knowledge transfer, the museum’s research and vast collection are the main pillars of its work. The collection is a unique natural and cultural asset, inextricably linked to our research and comprises over 30 million items covering zoology, palaeontology, geology and mineralogy and is of highest scientific and historical importance. The permanent exhibitions together with regular special exhibitions give the public insights into current research at the museum and highlight original research objects. Visitors are encouraged and inspired to find their own route into science and experience ‘Evolution in Action’ rather than following a given pathway.

Invalidenstraße 43 / Berlin

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Hasior Gallery

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.

Jagiellońska 16 B / Zakopane

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Black Lives Matter!

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I stand with the Black community. 

Racism is alive and well in America, and not only – I as well mean Europe here. We must be all vocal about the problem. We must spread awareness, donate if we can, educate ourselves and others, engage in conversations, look forward to change, rethink our actions. Do something, take action! Work everyday – not just for a week or for a day – to dismantle racism. To learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement, click here.

Triennale Brugge

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I went to Brugge (you might also know it as Bruges), the capital of West Flanders in  Belgium, last week. The city is world-known for its canals, cobbled streets, townhouses and medieval buildings – shortly speaking, majority of this magical city is under protection of UNESCO. Well, no wonder why. But this time, this city felt even more enchanting than usual.

Now I’m honest. I had no idea that the Triennale Brugge 2018 is on – this was meant to be a few day trip to the town I’ve been visiting for years. But the occurring event transformed this city into a breathing artwork. The Brugge Trienniale invited international artists and architects to think about this question: how flexible, liquid and resilient can a historic city like Bruges be in an age when nothing seems to be certain any longer? Many of them sought inspiration for their work in the role of liquidity in the city that is literally criss-crossed and surrounded by water. The waterways that once earned Brugge its international renown, become a metaphor for Liquid City. Fifteen works of art, installations and meeting places have been put up in the city centre. You can walk into them and experience them. And while seeking them, discover the less touristic, off-beat tracks of Brugge. My favourites? The inflated installation by Spanish studio Selgascano, which is a literal ‘meeting place’ on water, and Jarosław Kozakiewicz‘s ‘Brug’ bridge. The ‘Skyscraper’ by StudioKCA, which is a massive whale sculpture made of 5 tons of plastic pulled out of the ocean, makes you think as well.

Triennale Brugge 2018 lasts until September 16.