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: MDC Cosmetic Goes Next Door

MDC Cosmetic is the local Berliners’ heaven of all things skincare and beauty. And now, the store has expanded in its Prenzlauer Berg location to a “next door” space. Through constant personal contact with its chic clientele, MDC Cosmetic has grown with the times we live in. The key lesson from 2020 is that in the course of the newly discovered domesticity, a growing demand for beautiful objects, small furnishings, precious accessories and unique jewellery has sprung. MDC Next Door is therefore designed and run as a cabinet of curiosities for objects of everyday use. “At MDC, well-being is at the centre. There are other doors to take in beauty: eyes and touch are equally important to me as the sense of smell or the sensitivity of the skin to touch“, Melanie dal Canton says about her concept for MDC Next Door. Oloid II.2.a, a perfume developed by MDC’s owner in collaboration with Geza Schön, has its own sphere at MDC Next Door, just as the matching bar of soap in the shape of the eponymous oloid. New collaborations by Melanie dal Canton with illustrator Kitty Kahane (fabulous, hand-painted porcelain) and Sabrina Dehoff (off-kilter hair accessories) are presented for the first time at MDC Next Door, too. Another novelty the refined coffee space serving great espresso made from coffee beans from a Mexican plantation that is, to a certain extent, family-owned – but in the sense of the extended family concept cultivated at MDC.

Knaackstraße 26 / Berlin

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.

Berlin: Sprüth Magers

Sprüth Magers has expanded from its roots in Cologne, Germany to become an international gallery dedicated to exhibiting the very best in groundbreaking modern and contemporary art. With galleries located in Berlin Mitte, London’s Mayfair and the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles – as well as an office in Cologne and an outpost in Hong Kong – Sprüth Magers retains close ties with the studios and communities of the German and American artists who form the core of its roster. The gallery emerged amid an extraordinary outburst in contemporary art that took place in Cologne in the early 1980s. Its first iteration as Monika Sprüth Gallery opened in 1983 with an exhibition of paintings by Andreas Schulze and was soon followed by exhibitions of Rosemarie Trockel and Peter Fischli David Weiss. Over the next few years George Condo, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler and Cindy Sherman all showed at the gallery and have continued to do so for the last thirty years. In 2008 the gallery established its flagship space in a former dancehall in Berlin Mitte – not far from the city’s Museum Island. The gallery debuted with Thomas Scheibitz and George Condo. Known for its rigorously curatorial approach to its program and for a deep and enduring devotion to the artists it represents, the gallery has, over the past three decades, fostered close and cooperative relationships with museums and curators worldwide. Meanwhile it continues its tradition of commissioning new scholarship and creating innovative books and publications.

Right now showing in their Berlin gallery: Gilbert & George‘s “The Paradisical Pictures” and George Condo‘s “Linear Expression” – both open to visitors until the 25th of August.

Oranienburger Straße 18 / Berlin

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Berlin: Voo Store

It’s not the first time Voo Store appears on the blog, but it’s truly worth a second mention. The place has changed a lot during the pandemic, and a new energy is present across the racks of Prada corduroy coats and GmbH sexy leathers, and displays filled with Isa Boulder’s knitted bodywear and Ormaie perfumes. Voo Store is a culturally empowered, creatively driven concept space located in the heart of Berlin’s Kreuzberg, occupying a charming 300 square meter courtyard space on the ground floor of a former locksmiths. The street on which the store sits continues to attribute itself to its unique and progressive approach to contemporary fashion. Translating a personal vision of Berlin through a careful selection of local and international designers and products, Voo Store is an exploration in modern design, visual culture and the future of luxury retail. The store’s seasonal presentations are supplemented by a backbone of carryover favourites and classics, with its in-house café, Toki, further complimenting Voo’s retail experience serving a variety of specialty coffee, as well as a selection of fresh-baked goods. Markedly unique, Voo Store continues to set itself apart as a concept by ensuring its selection of innovative fashion, books, magazines and art become possessions for life and serve more the longevity within design as opposed to short-lived trends.

Oranienstraße 24 / Berlin

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.