Exhibition: Henryk Stażewski: Constructing Reliefs

Exhibition: Henryk Stażewski: Constructing Reliefs

Opening: Thursday, October 14, 2021, 6-9 PM
On view: from Oct. 15 to Nov. 20, Mon.-Fri., 10 AM - 4 PM

The exhibition sponsor: Ms. Krystyna Piórkowska.

The exhibition showcased a series of relief works made by the Polish artist Henryk Stażewski during the 1960s and 1970s. One of the central figures in the history of Polish abstraction, Stażewski had a career that spanned over seven decades. During the 1920s and 1930s, Stażewski was the co-founder of avant-garde collectives BLOK (1924-1926), Praesens (1926-1929), and a.r. (1929-1936), contributing to the development of Polish Constructivism and cultivating relationships with contemporary avant-garde movements, particularly with the representatives of Russian Constructivism and de Stijl group in the Netherlands.

In the aftermath of World War II, Stażewski briefly turned to Socialist Realism, a style imposed by the Soviet-controlled communist regime in Poland, before devoting himself to relief works during the late 1950s. Shunning the illusionism of easel painting, Stażewski deployed a variety of materials—including plywood, plexiglass, cardboard, and copper, among others—and diversity of non-mimetic shapes to construct three-dimensional reliefs on a flat pictorial surface. The reliefs would preoccupy Stażewski until his death in 1988 and constitute an important contribution to the history of European abstraction in the post-war period.

Curated by Patryk P. TomaszewskiHenryk Stażewski: Constructing Reliefs will include works on loan from the private collection of Andrzej and Grazyna Kenda. It was the first exhibition of Stażewski’s oeuvre in New York dedicated specifically to his reliefs. The show was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essay contributions by Patryk P. Tomaszewski, the exhibition curator, and Magdalena Moskalewicz, a scholar of Eastern European art and Adj. Assistant Professor of Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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