Avant-garde Experiments of the 1960s
Galeria Zderzak, 1.03 – 4.05.2019
Opening: Friday 1 March 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
on the 88th birthday of the artist
Please confirm attendance by 28 February by telephone or e-mail: +48 12 429 67 43, email@example.com
For the At the Margins of the Material exhibition we are displaying works from the first half of the 1960s by Janusz Tarabuła, a precursor of material painting in Poland. These are a variety of formal experiments, most never before put on display. The artist saw them as dress rehearsals, lesser works, less successful than those we know from the Krakow Group exhibitions and museum shows. Shamefaced, abandoned, forgotten, they littered the corners of his studio in Dębniki, some getting damaged. Yet for precisely this reason – their peripheral language and history of neglect – they interest us today, and are worth revisiting.
We have titled the exhibition to stress the avant-garde aspect of these creative explorations in a new artistic language – structuralism in painting. Where does it take us? What can it tell us? The young Tarabuła’s work is highly expressive, yet revolves around what defies expression: human captivity and obliteration, memory, and transcendence. In the pictures of the 1960s we see numbers – repeating, squeezed into a mass of elements, gathered in groups or piling up inertly, we see boarded windows and bars with prisoners’ faces, we see rails and traces of tracks. This is the most palpable, dramatic layer of these works’ meaning. We delve deeper through intuition. What is the significance of the opalescence of the strips of photographic paper, black matte “soot” or “graphite”, the cracked layer of “mortar” or “crumbling mud”? The whole geological aspect?
The rawness of these compositions is mollified by the subtle tones of color – gray, silver, ruddy, green, honey, ivory – they are unique, seldom encountered. Their combination with sparing and balanced texture effects, with materials that absorb or scatter the light, incline the viewer to contemplate these odd mnemonic pieces. At the Zderzak exhibition the viewers feel as though they are inside an old clock with a curious mechanism. It measures time from eternity to the present, without ticking, in utter silence.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with full documentation.
Born in 1931 in Krakow, he graduated in 1956 from the Painting Faculty at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, taking his diploma from the studio of Professor Czesław Rzepiński. He was a member of the Second Krakow Group. A co-founder of the Nowa Huta Group (1956-61), and a precursor of structuralism in painting (material painting) in Poland. In 1974-1976 he lectured at Maria Skłodowska-Curie University in Lublin, and in 1982 he began running a painting studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, where, in 1996, he was made professor. He works in easel and monumental painting, drawings, and graphic art. He was a co-creator of the monument to the Murdered Jews of Lublin, and the creator of frescoes in churches. Janusz Tarabuła’s paintings are found in the National Museum in Krakow, the National Museum in Warsaw, the Studio Gallery collection in Warsaw, and others.