artists & participants
Art in Our Age is an exhibition of works from the collections of the ING Polish Art Foundation and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. It is meant to be an accessible guide to the intricacies inherent in the reception and use of contemporary art in everyday life. The exhibition confronts the artworks of contemporary artists with the fundamental, albeit rarely articulated questions that their audiences keep asking themselves: Has today’s art totally divorced itself from reality? Who are contemporary artists and why do we call the effects of their work pieces of art? What do the abstract explorations of the artistic avant-garde have in common with the lives of ordinary people?
The works gathered in the collections of both institutions have been treated not as autonomous works, but as elements of a greater whole, that is, a social, aesthetic and historical reality. Therefore, the exhibited works allude to pop songs, local newspaper news, internet memes and mock-ups. All this is supposed to introduce and explain the context and the ideas behind these works, as well as the path that their authors had to take before they could see their works emerge. The exhibited artists tackle a variety of issues, such as the evolution of artistic media, mechanisms that allow technological innovations to take over roles of artistic techniques and the relationship between contemporary art and other forms of human activity. The resulting exhibition has developed into an installation that employs a variety of media and technologies, to prove that contemporary art is an easily accessible source of inspiration, and to show the indistinct boundaries that separate the artist’s mastery from practical everyday skills.
The exhibition is conceived to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ING Polish Art Foundation – one of the first corporate foundations in Poland that consciously supports and promotes Polish artists and their works. Prior to its presentation in the BWA Gallery in Katowice, the exhibition had a warm reception in the Zachęta National Gallery of Art.
Accompanying the exhibition, there is a wonderful range of activities on offer, including curator-led tours, workshops and meetings with artists and curators. All events are open to general public and free of charge.
The exhibition is also accompanied by publication entitled Art in Our Age, which is composed of short essays on contemporary art. The book is richly illustrated with an off-beat selection of reproduced works by Polish artists, and is highly recommended for anyone who would like to gain more insight into the mechanisms that govern today’s art. It contains amusing, serious or even provocative pieces of writing by various art professionals, who aim to answer various questions about contemporary art. The authors include director of Zachęta Hanna Wróblewska, art critic Dorota Jarecka, deputy director of Museum of Contemporary Art Sebastian Cichocki, artist Oskar Dawicki, gallery expert and writer Łukasz Gorczyca, art historian Maria Poprzęcka and other renowned persons from the world of art.
The ING Polish Art Foundation Collection was founded in 2000 by companies that constitute the ING Bank of Silesia Capital Group. Its aim is to support the development of Polish contemporary art, especially the work of young artists, by acquiring their works and making these available to general public. The collection emerged as a development of the ING Group’s program of artistic patronage exists along with their contemporary art collections in the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain and Mexico. The ING Polish Art Foundation collection is one of the first corporate art collections in Poland, comprising 162 works, mostly paintings, but also photographs, drawings, video works and sculptures. Alongside the classics (Włodzimierz Pawlak, Stefan Gierowski, Jarosław Fliciński and Zbigniew Libera), the collection includes pieces of art created by the younger generation (Wilhelm Sasnal, Rafał Bujnowski, Michał Budny and Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, among others). The collection can be seen online at www.ingart.pl, and the collected artworks have on numerous occasions been released on loan to exhibitions in Poland and abroad.
The Collection of Zachęta National Gallery of Art boasts over 3,600 items (paintings, sculptures, installations, video and paper works) and a very rich history, which has allowed the gallery's collection to reach such diversity and to become a documentation of Polish art from the late 1940s until now. The collection includes works that were created by the classics of Polish 20th century art (Tadeusz Kantor, Edward Krasiński, Erna Rosenstein, Henryk Stażewski and Alina Szapocznikow), as well as internationally renowned contemporary Polish artists (Mirosław Bałka, Katarzyna Kozyra, Zbigniew Libera, Wilhelm Sasnal and Krzysztof Wodiczko), acclaimed representatives of the young generation (Wojciech Bąkowski, Aneta Grzeszykowska and Julita Wójcik), as well as lesser known authors. The Zachęta gallery holds only temporary exhibitions, but the reproductions of collection items can always be accessed on the gallery’s website under Creative Commons licenses.
Rafał Dominik was born in 1985. He is an artist and a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (diploma in 2009 from Leon Tarasewicz's studio). Dominik works in traditional and digital painting, murals, sculpture, collage, illustration, film and furniture. He is also the co-founder of the ‘disco polo’ band Galactics. He is a member of the Czosnek Studio design studio (with Tymek Borowski and Katarzyna Przezwańska). His works have been shown at individual and group exhibitions, including the WM Gallery Amsterdam, Netherlands, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland, and the Arsenal Gallery in Białystok, Poland.
Szymon Żydek was born in 1987. Curator, producer and architectural researcher. Graduate of Warsaw University, Poland (Cultural Studies) and the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden (Theory and History of Architecture). He works with the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the Raster Gallery and the Bęc Zmiana Foundation. He is a member of the Free/Slow University of Warsaw. The issues that he deals in his work combine architecture, art and daily life.