The objective of the double opening of the "Recto / Verso 1948-1949, 1956-1957" Exhibition of Andrzej Wróblewski and the "Lest the two seas meet" group exhibition is the creation of a contemporary context for the artistic choices of Wróblewski and confronting his historical legacy with contemporary art, which continues to be measured by the catastrophe of wars and traumas of social conflicts on the one hand, and the necessity of constantly rebuilding the world and retelling its story anew, on the other.
The "Recto/Verso" exhibition, prepared by Prof. Eric de Chassey, focuses on the numerous bilateral images present in the artistic creations of Andrzej Wróblewski that portray completely contradictory artistic choices. The artist, for instance, paints abstract images on one side of the canvas leaving the other side to a tough realism in the socialist realism manner. These two seemingly incompatible trends on two sides of the same painting reveal the very scale of the memory, challenges and possible choices made after the Second World War, when the artistic experiment was burdened by ethical dimensions and the social commitment of art seemed to be more important than the artistic quality itself. The exhibition revolves around the curatorial hypothesis that bilateral images are not the product of coincidence but an actual artistic method harnessed by Wróblewski in order to respond to the complexity of the new reality.
The "Lest the two seas meet" exhibition, on the other hand, prepared by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, takes the events that occurred during the Arab Spring as the starting point. The exhibition deals with the transition point from the individual act of opposition to a community, political action, just as the individual act of Mohammed Bouazizi's self-immolation at the end of 2010 in Tunisia first gave rise to a great wave of civil protest in the region to later reach global levels. The curator has mainly but not exclusively collected the works of artists from the Middle East and Ukraine, which not so much constitute a commentary of the political situation connected with specific events as form an attempt to capture the emancipatory moment of the transformation of the private into the public, an individual protest into a social movement.
The body is at the core of both exhibitions. "The body must surface for politics to occur," Tarek Abou El Fetouh writes in his curator's text, "and for emancipatory actions to arise, a common body must appear – in the plural form – and occupy space. (…) Every protest participant offers his own body that later exists between two forms – the individual form and the group form – in circumstances that are difficult to specify.”
The body is in the centre of the story present in the paintings of Andrzej Wróblewski. It constitutes the area where history occurs and, in this sense, it becomes a political body. An executed, fragmented body, in half abstract forms, infected by death, thrown into an empty landscape and incapacitated, for instance, in an act of chair burial.
Tarek Abou El Fetouh has incorporated a group of Wróblewski's monotypes on the metamorphoses of bodies into his exhibition. They have become both a connection between the exhibitions as well as their unique common motto, which attempts to capture the transformation that starts from the body. A tortured, executed body, but a body that also carries within itself an emancipatory potential for change.
Go to the interactive guide
"Andrzej Wróblewski: Recto / Verso. 1948-1949, 1956-1957"