Modern landscape
Landscape is a young genre of fine art. The image of nature has emerged relatively recently in an independent niche. Until the XVII-XVIII centuries, the concept of "landscape" did not…

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Joyful heavy metal and mad rabbits. New painting from Silesia
Starting from the 50s of the last century in Upper Silesia three associations of artists acted in turn, each of which excelled the previous one in eccentricity. Even in the…

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paintbrush
A brush is nothing more than a simple tool to help an artist complete his plan. But like with every tool with brushes, one must also be able to handle.…

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Joyful heavy metal and mad rabbits. New painting from Silesia

Starting from the 50s of the last century in Upper Silesia three associations of artists acted in turn, each of which excelled the previous one in eccentricity.

Even in the era of Stalinism in Katowice formed a group of avant-garde artists, architects and art historians. They were fond of the Silesian period of Julian Pshibos’s work, and they considered the “Theory of Vision” by Vladislav Strzheminsky to be their Bible. Strzheminsky dies in 1952, and shortly afterwards the “sun of the peoples” – Joseph Stalin sets. A few months later, the first exhibition of the St-53 group takes place. The numbers in its name indicate the date, and the letters indicate the name of the city, which the party authorities renamed from Katowice to Stalinogrud.

Andrzej Urbanovich, Luminous, photo: private archive
Andrzej Urbanovich, Luminous, photo: private archive
In the 60s, a split occurred in the group. Associated with St-53 Urshul Broll, together with his future husband Andrzej Urbanovich, organize a workshop in the attic of house number 1 on Piastovskaya Street. By the end of this decade, three more artists are joining them – this is how the Oneiron group emerges, professing a special, esoteric underground, far from the avant-garde pan-European search for St-53. Participants of Oneyron study literature on psychoanalysis and esotericism. They are fascinated by Eastern religions, Zen, and other subjects from the arsenal of the American counterculture formed on the wave of changes in 1968. The workshop on Pyastovskaya became the meeting place of this counterculture and the realities of the NDP – and sometimes meetings took place literally: for example, Allen Ginzburg came here.

Initially, Urbanovich refers to the legacy of artists such as the creator of the term art brut, Jean Dubuffet, and then begins to study the texts of local adepts of magism from the beginning of the century and embarks on a path that will eventually lead him to create compositions filled with alchemical flowers, as well as snakes, the sun and lotus flowers in different variations. Meanwhile, for twenty years, the local version of art brut has been quietly developing nearby. At the House of Culture of the Vecherek mine, the miners create an association, which later became known as the Yanovskaya Group. Like their colleagues from St-53, miners are interested in esotericism and oriental mysticism. For example, in the paintings of Erwin Suvka, combining genre scenes with signs of Catholic spirituality, fantastic, surrealistic plots appear – something between Hindu iconography and science fiction style illustrations.

The history of Polish painting (as well as the last two decades of visual art in general) is the history of atomization. Together with institutional changes, development and professionalization of this sphere of art, collective work has lost effectiveness. It is significant that the last group of artists who thoroughly reformatted the domestic art scene was “weary of reality” neo-surrealists, introverted artists focused on their own worlds. Local groups of artists, it seems, are already becoming retro-exotic, and new associations, if they arise, do not last long. However, Katowice is still the most interesting center of modern painting.

The capital of Silesia owes this status, in particular, to Andrzej Tobis, a photographer, artist, professor at the Katowice Academy of Arts. Such talents as Bartek Butchek, Martina Čech, Natalia Bazhovskaya, Krzysztof Pentka came out of his workshop. Dominika Kovynia worked here as an assistant. These artists undoubtedly adopted exceptional observation from their teacher. No wonder Tobis is the author of the conceptual and essentially utopian photo project “A-Z. Illustrated Dictionary of German and Polish. ” Like the authors of the Gadear-Polish dictionary, Tobis in his thesaurus takes on the description of the post-reform reality of the border territories of Poland. Recently, the artists from Upper Silesia have tried to classify Marta Kudelskaya and Malgozhata Golembevskaya – curators of the exhibition “What is hidden. Contemporary art from Silesia at the State Art Gallery in Sopot ”(2015), as well as Marta Lisok, curator of the Katowice BWA, author of the book“ Savages. New art from Silesia. ” On the one hand, melancholy was considered a common sign for regional art, and on the other hand, rejection of socially engaged art, focus on observing fragments of reality, objects or landscape. This approach has reasons, although along with melancholy, a new generation of artists also displays ecstatic moods, and along with extremely intimate stories there is a biased theme.

The paintings of Dominica Kovynia, painted several years ago, are sustained in the tradition of flat realism in the spirit of Marcin Maceevsky. At the same time, her works of that period were more likely melancholic than humorous; the artist preferred to concentrate on the surrounding reality than to engage in the diagnosis of the state of modern society.

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