Wislawa Szymborska - collages

Gallery Katarzyna Napiorkowska | Warsaw & Brussels
Dec 6, 2018 3:55PM

Wislawa Szymborska was one of the most famous and acclaimed poets and essayists of the XX century, awarded with, among others, the Noble Prize in Literature in 1996, for "poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality". Szymborska’s poetical output includes about 350 published poems. There is a less-known part of the poet's work: those are postcard-size collages, which had been sent to her friends over many years.

The first collages were made in the late 1960s and early 70s. "Please do not visit me for a few days, as I am becoming an artist.", as she used to say to her friends usually in November. The floor in her flat was covered with pictures and texts cut out from newspapers and magazines. The collages she created served as postcards that she would send to friends and relatives. Today - they are independent, outstanding works of art, teaching wisdom and distance. The collages that were created served to nurture friendship and contacts in a ironic form They allowed to create a new, amusing and ambiguous way of communication. Short phrases, which sometimes appear on collages, became an intriguing invitation to dialogue.

They were not the only works of the Nobel Prize winner. In recent years, we also learn about illustrations created by the young poet for the needs of the English-language textbook published by her friend`s father. Collages that were created in mature life were a way to nurture contacts. They became puns in which understanding the author's intentions was not always obvious, but invited to the game - words, images, meanings ...

They commented on matters of everyday life and referred to relationships with specific people. Wisława Szymborska sent them to Zbigniew Herbert, Ryszard Krynicki, Adam Zagajewski ... The collages were a form of correspondence, but they became independent works of art. Fine and surreal. Created by a person with a huge sense of humor.

They are an emanation of a mature artistic vision, very close to Szymborska's poetic thinking. They allow to understand better the world created by her imagination: they break stereotypes, break the existing semantic relationships. They teach how to perceive things just as Wisława Szymborska did- more carefully, more empathically, but also with a distance.

Above all, it is revealed in them - paraphrasing the title of one of the most beautiful poems by Wisława Szymborska - the joy of creation, in all its ordinariness and power.

Justyna Napiorkowska, PhD

Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012). Poet, writer and columnist, honored in 1996 with the literary Nobel Prize in 1996. As a writer she made her debut in Dziennik Polski in 1945. Seven years later she released her first volume of poetry. She believed that the artist should speak only through his works. Such comments, in the form of an intelligent commentary on reality, were Szymborska's collages. They were made of newspapers, old postcards and photographic reproductions, the author began to create at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s. Szymborska usually handed them to her closest friends and, as a witty gift, sent them as postcards. As the author claimed, the motivation to take artistic creativity was the lack of nice postcards. Some of the collages were illustrations of books - in total, several thousand were created. "Wyklejanki", as she called them, were first presented to a wider audience in 2013, one year after the writer's death, at an exhibition in the Kraków's Pałac pod Baranami.

At the exhibition in the Katarzyna Napiórkowska Gallery in Brussels, 25 works from the Wisława Szymborska Foundation's collection are presented.

The exhibition is organized with the support of Université libre de Bruxelles and l’Institut Polonais, with the High Patronage of His Eminence Artur Orzechowski, the Ambassador of Republic of Poland to the Kingdom of Belgium.



exhibition: until 10 December 2018



(+32) 495 718 988


Twórczość Wisławy Szymborskiej ⓒ Fundacja Wisławy Szymborskiej

Twórczość Wisławy Szymborskiej ⓒ Fundacja Wisławy Szymborskiej

Twórczość Wisławy Szymborskiej ⓒ Fundacja Wisławy Szymborskiej

Gallery Katarzyna Napiorkowska | Warsaw & Brussels