Marek Bartelik

  • “Schism: Polish Art of the 1990s”

    This exhibition argued that now is the time to evaluate Polish art of the 1990s, that enough time has elapsed to allow for critical distance. But how to do this in a constructive, meaningful way? “Schism: Polish Art of the 1990s” took its title from a 1994 volume of poetry by writer and musician Marcin Świetlicki, known for exploring the condition of the individual in Poland following the fall of state socialism with a combination of dark humor and sarcasm. The show, curated by Adam Mazur and impressive in its scope but unnecessarily didactic, drew on the growing discontent with the transformations

  • “Pole, Jew, Artist: Identity and Avant-Garde”

    Summing up the experience of the Jewish pioneers of modernism, the artist Henryk Gotlib observed in 1932: “It is not important what Jews became for painting but what painting became for the Jews.” Without claiming to be a survey of art produced by Jewish artists in Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, Lvov, and Vilna during the interwar period, this fascinating exhibition focused on a number of individuals who defined modernism in the local context, while situating their works in relation to a broader international art scene. Stressing the avant-garde aspects of pieces in various media, the show—superbly

  • Pazé

    The Brazilian artist Pazé’s recent work, A Coleção (The Collection), 2009, transported the viewer inside a spectacular hall of painting, an illusionistic space on printed wallpaper that covered the walls of Casa Triângulo from floor to ceiling. His invented gallery was packed salon style with famous works ranging from Caravaggio’s Musicians, 1595, to Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Self-Portrait, 1906, all in the public domain and all including figures that look directly at the viewer. The artist reinforced the ambiguity of the fictional space by repeating it as an inverted view, thus producing a

  • Christopher Mir

    The ten paintings displayed in Christopher Mir’s exhibition “The Dream of You Is Real” are tightly executed, smooth works of Photorealism representing sexy women, a lone caveman, galloping horses, flying birds and insects, and so on, all inserted into landscapes and often projecting a feeling of the uncanny and the exotic. Such an iconography recalls a surrealist discharge of imagination: A rich dream space profoundly mirrors often nightmarish psychological scenes. However, the serene or stormy skies that belong to Mir’s world also include additional visitors: planes and helicopters, functioning

  • View of  “Richard Prince and the Revolution,” 2009. From left: Scott Myles, Everything in-between, Dundee, Scotland, Oct 02 1996, Everything in-between, Monument Valley, USA, Mar 23 1998,  1996–98; Isabell Heimerdinger, Untitled, 1999; Kati Simons von Bockum-Dolffs, Three Minus One, 2009; Ryan Gander, Without Process (too close to the sun again), 2008.
    picks August 06, 2009

    “Richard Prince and the Revolution”

    “Richard Prince and the Revolution” is neither directly about the American artist nor about any kind of violent action or dramatic change, as the exhibition’s title suggests. One might say that this handsome show “appropriates” both Prince and the revolution, while perhaps making an oblique nod to the singer Prince and his band the Revolution. Accordingly, the exhibition, curated by Jonathan Monk, addresses appropriation and its relationship to originality, examining it through a collection of thirteen works in different media by an international group of mostly younger artists, including Ryan

  • Isabel Rocamora

    An anonymous woman wearing a long black head scarf that covers her entire body slips into elegant white shoes as she prepares for a journey from a large city to a mysterious place devoid of physical human presence, populated instead with potent memories. The voyage is imaginary, but the circumstances surrounding it are real: Isabel Rocamora’s masterfully crafted dual-channel projection Horizon of Exile (all works 2007) is based on the life stories told to her by several Kurdish and central Iraqi women living in London. The work is magical realism at its best, an engaging travelogue into the past

  • Tere Recarens

    In this show, “Karma Allumé,” Tere Recarens confirmed that she is an artist-traveler. Recarens’s first name, short for Teresa, has largely served to determine her itineraries and her artistic endeavors: In 2002, for instance, after finding out that tere means “hello” in Estonia, she traveled there and, as a result, produced a work titled ETC. Her most recent voyages have been to Mali, where she investigated the meaning of the word tere in the country’s most commonly used local language, Bambara.

    In Mali, tere, ethnologist Salia Malé explains, denotes “an integral part of the components of every

  • Diana Fiedler

    “The PLACE is a sudden gap in the utilitarian approach to the world,” declared the founders of Galeria Foksal in a manifesto in 1967. In her new exhibition, “Double,” Diana Fiedler returned to that utopian statement by covertly acknowledging the gallery’s specific history—an institution devoted to international tendencies in contemporary art such as neo-Constructivism, Minimalism, and Conceptual art. The gallery (not to be confused with its conflicted offspring, the Foksal Foundation) is unique in Eastern Europe for having continued in almost uninterrupted operation for more than forty years as

  • “When I Open My Eyes in the Morning, I See a Film”

    Recent reassessments of the legacy of Eastern and Central European neo-avant-gardes coincide with a renewed public interest in the period around 1968. Good timing, then, for “When I Open My Eyes in the Morning, I See a Film: Experiment in Yugoslav Art in the ’60s and ’70s,” the inaugural show at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (currently in a temporary location), which offered an extensive and illuminating look at one of the most active scenes at the time in the former Eastern Bloc. The title was taken from an interview with Tomislav Gotovac, one of the key Yugoslav artists of the period. As

  • Tadeusz Kantor, Bike/Mannequin of a Boy on a Bike, 1975.

    Tadeusz Kantor

    Since his death in 1990, the Polish avant-garde theater director, actor, and artist Tadeusz Kantor has received growing international attention as a visual artist, as if his plays and colorful, complicated stage persona prevented his assemblages, paintings, drawings, and Happenings from being fully appreciated during his lifetime.

    Since his death in 1990, the Polish avant-garde theater director, actor, and artist Tadeusz Kantor has received growing international attention as a visual artist, as if his plays and colorful, complicated stage persona prevented his assemblages, paintings, drawings, and Happenings from being fully appreciated during his lifetime. Some sixty important works, dating from the late 1940s to the mid-’80s, have been brought together for this ambitious survey, which considers his disparate oeuvre as a Gesamtkunstwerk: Arranged thematically rather than chronologically, the show

  • “Kiosk7: OudWestKiosk”

    Russian émigré architect Berthold Lubetkin (1901–1990), who opened his London practice in the early ’30s, helped endow British architecture with Constructivist rigor. But as time went on his designs started to look dated to proponents of postmodern architecture, and some of his buildings were later demolished. In 2005 the artist collective known as Gavin Wade mit Simon & Tom Bloor appropriated two of Lubetkin’s abandoned structures, known as Kiosk 1 & 2 (originally used to sell sweets and ice cream), designed by the architect and his Tecton Group in 1937 for the Dudley Zoological Gardens near

  • Mikhael Subotzky

    To examine life in confinement poses a serious challenge to photographers; attempts to see inside any closed and secretive prison system seem doomed to produce limited results. Still, South Africa’s jails exert an unusual fascination, for until recently many viewed the country itself as a gigantic prison for its black majority; furthermore, the country continues to have one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world. On his website, the photographer Mikhael Subotzky quotes the most famous of South Africa’s former prisoners, Nelson Mandela: “It is said that no one truly knows a nation