Sylwia Serafinowicz

  • picks July 27, 2016

    Maria Lassnig

    The late painter Maria Lassnig’s rigorous, febrile, decades-long project in self-portraiture takes the viewer on a remarkable journey. In this retrospective—Lassnig’s first in the UK—we encounter forty of the artist’s mostly large-scale works, along with several of her irresistibly beautiful and witty animations. One of these, a 35-mm film titled The Ballad of Maria Lassnig (Maria Lassnig Kantate), 1992, features the artist, glamorously dressed, singing about the vicissitudes of her life and career. It is very much in the spirit of her paintings—humorous, ironic, yet unflinchingly honest. At

  • picks May 19, 2016

    Krystian Truth Czaplicki

    Since Méret Oppenheim first exhibited her piece My Nurse, 1936, made of a pair of white heels served on a platter, found objects have invaded art’s representation of our desires, needs, and sorrows. Krystian Truth Czaplicki offers a new twist on this tradition by turning his steel and glass forms into containers holding Absolut Vodka, Listerine, and Nivea Cream. These materials, as well as the titles given to the works, such as Psychotic Morning, 2014, successfully turn his abstractions into depictions of life. Their spotless surfaces, just as well groomed as the face of American Psycho’s Patrick

  • Jakub Czyszczoń

    Founded in Poznań, Stereo operates today from Warsaw and is located in what was formerly the biggest printing facility in the People’s Republic of Poland, designed by famous modernist architect Kazimierz Marczewski and built in 1950. The spectacular architecture of this now run-down building and its somewhat humid interior proved to be the perfect setting for the works Jakub Czyszczoń gathered for his exhibition “[is the room full of smoke?].” Czyszczoń, who was born in 1983, presented a series of abstract pieces of different sizes that look like paintings but were created via various experimental

  • picks February 10, 2016

    “people sometimes, die”

    This group exhibition curated by New York–based artist Jesse Hlebo, titled “people sometimes, die,” opens with Denzel Russell’s The Legislator, 2015, a gun-shaped tube of glass filled with blood, which partially exploded some time after it was hung. The piece is violent and seductive, much like Rihanna’s paean to revenge, “Bitch Better Have My Money,” a remix of which serves as the sound track for E. Jane’s video GetThaMoney.irl.mp4, 2015. Jane’s video offers us a clip from the notorious film Set It Off (1996), a story about four black women turned bank robbers who are, in the words of Vivica

  • Tadeusz Kantor

    Both a visual artist and a theater director, Tadeusz Kantor was perhaps the most prominent and controversial figure of the twentieth-century Polish avant-garde. The exhibition in São Paulo was part of the International Year of Tadeusz Kantor that was announced by UNESCO to mark the hundredth anniversary of his birth.

    Kantor visited the city just once, in 1967, on the occasion of the São Paulo Bienal. But he received a prize there and subsequently became a major reference for the theorists and practitioners of Brazilian contemporary theater, including Antunes Filho, who runs the Center for Theater

  • “Goshka Macuga: To the son of man who ate the scroll”

    Goshka Macuga takes over two venues of the Fondazione Prada with an exhibition that comprises approximately forty works executed in various media by Macuga and a handpicked assembly of artists including Phyllida Barlow, Hanne Darboven, Giorgio de Chirico, Fischli & Weiss, and Dieter Roth. Contemporary pieces, juxtaposed with ancient Egyptian artifacts, reflect on the eternal dynamics of collapse and renewal, a theme that is memorably broached in the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel (“Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you . . .’”), from which the show

  • picks October 15, 2015

    Szymon Rogiński

    Szymon Rogiński is a photographer best-known for his works shot at night, such as his “Poland Synthesis” series, 2003–2006, for which he used car headlights, as well as more elaborate lighting systems, to extract from the Polish nocturnal landscape shabby roads, crucifixes, quirky houses, and motels. To date, his large-scale depictions have been hung on the white walls of galleries. This mode of display has emphasized his works’ aesthetic character. However, in this exhibition, which delves deeper into the dark heart of his photographs and their American origins, Rogiński’s pieces are submerged

  • picks July 08, 2015

    Janek Simon

    Janek Simon’s current solo exhibition, “People with the heads of dogs,” is as much a reflection on the phenomenon of travellers’ confabulations about their journeys as it is a study of the self. The title refers to a passage from Marco Polo’s Description of the World (ca. 1300), one of the travel accounts most notorious for blurring lines between fiction and reality. In the show, the story is recalled via a work sharing the exhibition’s title that features a series of colorful figurines straight from a 3-D printer. The artist is a traveller himself, as evidenced by his trip to Antananarivo to

  • picks June 08, 2015

    Dawid Misiorny

    In his solo show “Wszystko łączy się ze wszystkim” (Everything liaise with everything), Dawid Misiorny uses four wooden, square, custom-made display cases to present his photographs in this modest yet dynamic gallery space located in the popular area of Wrocław Nadodrze. Every case contains a set of thirty-six images printed on a single sheet of photographic paper. The artist composed the displays’ contents from seventy-two shots, some of which he deliberately repeated in several cases, as if to test our ability to grasp and memorize what we are looking at. Despite the rather analog feeling of

  • Suzy Lake

    Hardly an introduction to a body of work that spans nearly half a century, “Introducing Suzy Lake,” a retrospective that honored the Detroit-born, Toronto-based photographer, emphasized the two driving forces that jointly determined the course this artist’s rich oeuvre would take: Lake’s steadfast engagement with photography and her provocative work with her own body. In Lake’s hands, the photographic medium is imbued with a strong material presence. Her 1970s works such as Suzy Lake as Gary William Smith, 1973–74, and ImPositions #1 and ImPositions #2, both 1977, demonstrate innovative

  • picks December 22, 2014

    “Modest Muses”

    Exhibitions rarely emerge from their locations as playfully as this. Zakopane, a city in the Polish Tatra Mountains, is famous for its daring local artists Stanisław Witkiewicz and Władysław Hasior. Currently covered in snow, the city is now the host of this sensual, bold show. It begins with slides taken in the 1970s and ’80s by Hasior, who is known for his intrepid assemblage installations. The images often depict the aesthetically challenging sources of his inspiration—such as lopsided fences, an accumulation of chairs, and bread loaves (the latter featured directly in several of his pieces).

  • Eustachy Kossakowski and Goshka Macuga

    The point of departure for “Report from the Exhibition,” which juxtaposed works by Eustachy Kossakowski and Goshka Macuga, was the oeuvre of Kazimir Malevich, the father of Suprematism and the painter of that cornerstone of modernism Black Square, 1915, an image that the artist made his signature. Though his practice and thought were the foundation of the Russian avant-garde, starting in the late 1920s his work was found to be inconsistent with the official policy of socialist realism and was suppressed by the Soviet government, an act that made it difficult to access for decades. That situation

  • diary October 09, 2014

    Polish and Shine

    THE FOURTH WARSAW GALLERY WEEKEND saw organizers redoubling their efforts to encourage the Polish art world—and beyond—to join in the three-day-long celebrations. The event, featuring over twenty galleries, spotlights Poland’s developing private sector in the arts. Each year it proves to be a popular and much-needed exposition of the galleries’ commitment to self-organization and collaboration, a fairly recent quality of the local scene.

    This edition kicked off, rather unexpectedly, at the Presidential Palace on Krakowskie Przedmieście in central Warsaw, with “Missing Link,” a talk on private

  • “Paper Museums: Moscow Conceptualism in Transit”

    Oleg Vassiliev’s 1994 painting Space and Landscape depicts beams of white light, like those surrounding holy figures in Russian icons, against a row of birch trees visible in the background. Birch trees are the most distinctive feature of Russia’s rural landscape; taking a train from Saint Petersburg to Warsaw, you can watch them for hours. The forest has both practical and symbolic importance in the history of Moscow Conceptualism. For the dissident artists of the Soviet era, who had no opportunity to exhibit in public and were prosecuted for exhibiting in private, the birch forest was a place

  • Oskar Hansen

    Polish architect Oskar Hansen was an artist and educator perhaps best known for his “Open Form” theory, a concept—connected to the work of the Team 10 architects—that promoted the social utility of sculpture and architecture and countered long-favored Corbusian ideals. “Open Form” soon evolved into a brave plan for urban decentralization that Hansen, during his tenure at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, passed along to generations of students, encouraging them to pursue art practices beyond traditional disciplines.

  • Chistian Jankowski

    At the heart of Christian Jankowski’s exhibition “Heavy Weight History” was a project encompassing seven black-and-white photographs and a twenty-five-minute-long video realized in the summer of 2013 in Warsaw. Jankowski, in close collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, selected seven city monuments and organized a group of professional weightlifters to attempt to raise them. In this symbolic way, through a sort of sports competition open to the public, he proposed lifting the burden of the complex and turbulent history whose remnants lurk in every corner of Warsaw.

  • Ewa Juszkiewicz

    Among the works in Ewa Juszkiewicz’s exhibition “Pukle” (Curls), one stood out as even more captivatingly surreal than the others. This painting (all works cited, Untitled, 2013) shows a stiff, white, pompous headdress drifting in a marl-like background of broad brushstrokes. The pleats of material forming the dramatic accessory look as if draped on a woman’s shoulders, but no shoulders are to be seen. Where the face should be, the headdress takes the shape of a rose. At its center, a single eye peers out from beneath the drapery—the only visible fragment of a human body. This is Juszkiewicz’s

  • Grzegorz Kowalski

    Klisze amerykańskie” (American Stills) was a selection of works by the Polish artist Grzegorz Kowalski, most conceived during his stay in the United States for the academic year 1970–71, when he was a recipient of a scholarship from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During this relatively short period of time, Kowalski accumulated an impressive quantity of press cuttings, books, and vinyl records (his eclectic collection of the last included such classics of the era as the sound track from the musical Hair). A selection of these materials, which reflect the social moods and protest


    “At the heart of the apocalypse, there’s no time for a striptease,” writes acclaimed Polish writer Jerzy Pilch in his most recent book, Wiele demonów (Many Demons), published in 2013. But the artist group LUXUS, established just before the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1980, had long since proved otherwise. Choosing a name that slyly evokes both Fluxus and luxury, the group based its practice on the combination of enthusiasm for life and art with a deeply ironic and critical attitude toward the iconosphere of the 1980s. As one of the territories taken from Germany and joined to Poland