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  • The Power of Fantasy: Modern and Contemporary Art from Poland

Crowley, David, Machnicka, Zofia and Szczerski, Andrzej, 2011, Show, Exhibition or Event, The Power of Fantasy: Modern and Contemporary Art from Poland

Abstract or Description:

This major exhibition was mounted at BOZAR (the Centre for Fine Arts), Brussels, in 2011. Crowley was commissioned to co-curate it (with Andrzej Szczerski and Zofia Machnicka) by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as the centrepiece of a programme (I, CULTURE) marking Poland's presidency of the EU. Featuring 30 artists and almost 200 artworks, it was the most comprehensive exhibition of Polish contemporary art to date. Focusing on significant artworks produced by Polish artists since the fall of communism in the country, it also featured a thread of 20th-century masterpieces to demonstrate an argument that Polish modern art contains deep lines of connection with the past. The exhibition set out to show that fantasy been not just been a way of escaping difficult conditions in Polish culture (like such as occupation) but a way also of confronting reality.

The exhibition involved both considerable research in museum collections and working with artists. Crowley was the co-author and co-editor of the accompanying book, published by Prestel under the same title (2011). He wrote the introduction and a 7,500 word essay entitled 'Sacrifice, madness, ruins and other Polish dreams', which explored the positive meanings given to madness in Polish culture since the mid-19th century (pp.68–86). The essay sets contemporary art in the context of romantic nationalism and the reception of the works of Michel Foucault in Poland.
Approximately 20,000 people visited the exhibition. It was well and widely reviewed in the press, radio and TV in the UK, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Poland. A two-page review in the Financial Times called it a ‘world-class show’ (2011). Crowley was subsequently asked to write articles and catalogue essays on the work of a number of contemporary Polish artists, including Mirosław Bałka (2013), Nicolas Grospierre (2013) and Paulina Ołowska (forthcoming).

Contributors:
ContributionNameRCA ID
AuthorSwitek, GabrielaUNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Other > European Languages > R700 Russian and East European studies > R730 Russian and East European Society and Culture > R732 Polish Society and Culture
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V350 History of Art
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2011 17:47
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2016 16:14
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/525

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