The title of the exhibition - Meeting - might be understood in many ways and take place on multiple levels. A meeting of two artists, two friends, two different worldviews, and ideas on what art is, what do we need it for, and what functions it performs. The COVID-19 epidemic has given it yet another meaning - of a meeting that never took place - which is a situation that each of us has experienced in the last two months. The exhibition was created in these specific conditions in which, instead of working together on the project, the artists had to deal with it separately, basing on indirect communication, establishing a schedule of activities so that, contrary to the original assumptions, they would never meet.
Paweł Zaręba and Krzysztof Żwirblis, representatives of the middle generation of Polish artists, present two extremely different currents in contemporary art. Zaręba is interested in the pure form and the search for the beauty of the objects. Żwirblis is a socially engaged activist, participant in several hundred performances, street actions, and performative projects. He was a member of the experimental group Akademia Ruchu and curator of the AR gallery and Galeria Studio in Warsaw. The very concept of the meeting is the key to his activities that involve not only the artist but also viewers, often the local communities with whom he works. Zaręba, on the other hand, encounters the painterly matter on his own and then allows the viewer to join the artist in his individual and intimate journey.
The exhibition presents films and photographs of Krzysztof Żwirblis, that document his performative activities, multi-day socio-artistic actions, and installations in the public space, created mainly during the last three years. To exchange opinions and experiences with the viewer, who becomes an active participant, is the most important element of his work. In the project entitled The Social Museum, carried out as part of the International Ephemeral Art Festival Konteksty in Sokołowsko, Żwirblis combined meetings with the inhabitants of the region with the creation of a film and an exhibition. Each element is of the same importance, and the idea behind the project is a conviction, that each of us is a treasury of history, experience, and objects, that are worth creating a separate private museum. The artist is thinking of carrying out similar activities in Zalesie Górne, but current conditions, unfortunately, do not allow it. Other films and objects refer to actions carried out, among others, at Plac Konstytucji and in Kamionek in Warsaw, and in the Italian city of Faenza. One of the interventions was also placed outside the gallery.
Paweł Zaręba presents his latest works on paper and canvas. He also made painterly interventions in the gallery space. Zaręba's activity, focused on the return to the essence of painting, is by definition invariably different from Żwirblis's work, which creates an interesting visual and conceptual contrast. Focused on a formal search, Zaręba does not need a viewer or a participant for his works to arise. The creative process takes place between the painterly matter and space. The viewer is a guest - a discoverer in an intimate world created alone by the artist.
A joint initiative of the artists is also planned at later date, the aim of which will be the animation and revitalization of the abandoned facility in Zalesie Górne, which is the former bar on the way to the ponds. This bar could as well be called Meeting, referring to its former function - a meeting place for the inhabitants of Zalesie.
Born in 1965 in Warsaw. Studied painting and graphic arts at Hochsuchle für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, Germany. He defended his diploma in the studio of prof. Heinz Wagner. Scholarship holder of the Berkenhoff-Stipendium, Worpswede, and Kulturfonds, Berlin, Piaseczno municipality. He currently lives and works in Zalesie Gorne near Warsaw.
Born in 1953 in Warsaw. A graduate of the Institute of Art History at the Warsaw University. From 1976 he was a member of the experimental group Akademia Ruchu. In 1992–1997 he was the curator of Galeria AR in Kino-Teatr Tęcza, and in 2007–2012 the curator of Galeria Studio in Warsaw. Since 2005, he has been carrying out multi-day artistic activities with the participation of local communities, including the Social Museum project, which had 23 editions since 2010. He has been conducting performative workshops combined with shows in public space since 2011, most recently at festivals: Literature as Photosynthesis, Warsaw 2018, Workshops From the Revolution, Poznań 2018, and Maurerspringer, Faenza 2019. The places where his projects were presented were, among others: Zachęta National Gallery of Art; CCA Ujazdowski Castle; Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw; Skopje City Museum; Kunstraum Pro Arte, Hallein (Austria); Museo Carlo Zauli, Faenza.
Partners of the exhibition: Fundacja Pomieszczenie Wystawowe, Fundacja Odrodzenie, Fundusz Popierania Twórczości ZAiKS, Piaseczno municipality, Centre of Culture in Piaseczno, Book & Art, Grupa CSV, LEDVANCE.
Special thanks to Krystyna Stawecka and Andrzej Szczygielski.
Text: Ewa Sułek