Critics’ Picks

View of “Enrico Prampolini,” 2017.

View of “Enrico Prampolini,” 2017.


Enrico Prampolini

Muzeum Sztuki | MS2
Ogrodowa 19 St.
June 9–October 8, 2017

In 1930, Italian Futurist artist Enrico Prampolini donated his painting Tarantella, 1920–22, to the Polish artist group a.r., which was amassing a collection of international avant-garde artworks that would become the foundation of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. It is perhaps fitting, then, that curator Przemysław Strożek uses the work as a symbolic point of departure for an exhibition that simultaneously serves as the first large-scale retrospective of Prampolini’s work since the early 1990s and as a portrait of the international character of the Polish avant-garde, the centenary of which is this year. Indeed, this thematic exhibition is among many organized by the museum in celebration of the anniversary; this one focuses on productive links between Prampolini’s stage design and Polish avant-garde theater.

The first section reflects Prampolini’s burgeoning interest in dynamism and simultaneity in the 1910s; the second section presents his use of technology in his set designs in the 1920s, culminating in a reconstructed model of his 1925 Magnetic Theatre; and the third highlights his approach to pure abstraction in the 1930s. Interspersed are a range of materials connected to the stage design of Polish avant-garde groups, such as Blok, Praesens, and Zwrotnica. Overall, a staggering two hundred paintings, documents, models, costumes, sketches, and photographs are on view in one room. That the exhibition does not become overwhelmed by its content is a testament to the design: Floating walls, on which all two-dimensional work is installed, have been positioned to create semi-intimate viewing areas.