JOZEF SZAJNA. HISTORY
Art reduces the distance between knowledge and the unknown.
June 24, 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of Józef Szajna's death. It is an occasion to remind the artist, whose art and life was so strongly formed by the history of the twentieth century. Józef Szajna, as a former prisoner of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, has been a consistent and active witness to the atrocities of World War II throughout his entire life. He also remained an important participant in the reconciliation process. As he used to say, he was transforming life into an image. He saw art as a realization of what inside us needs to be liberated, but also a self-defence against helpless surrender.
His paintings were often referring to the trauma of the extermination and concentration camps. On the other hand, there are works in which he was trying to break away from history.
Szajna's extraordinary creative potential transformed into the constant imperative of activity. He created environments, paintings, collages, drawings, sketches. Many of them were autonomous, while others were intended for the theater, which he developed according to the principles he formulated himself as "TEART". Szajna's works are to be found in collections all over the world, including at the Hirshholm Museum Washington and the Museum of Modern Art in Osaka. The exhibition in Warsaw presents Szajna's selected works from various periods of his creative path. It allows to capture historical events resonating in them, but also to unveil the trials of freeing himself from history.
JÓZEF SZAJNA (born 1922, died in 2008)
one of the most outstanding Polish XX century artists. Critics of the 1989 Art Biennale in Sao Paulo indicated him as one of five greatest artists of the 20th century.
Painter, graphic designer, stage designer, director, theoretician of the theater, screenwriter.
He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Diploma in 1952 in the graphic design studio and in 1953 in the studio of set design.
During the Second World War, he was a member of the Union of Armed Combat, prisoner of German Nazi camps in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
In 1954-65 he was a research and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. In 1972 he became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Szajna directed the Ludowy Theater in Nowa Huta and the Theater Center of the Studio in Warsaw, which he created.
In the years 1966-71 he collaborated with the Teatr Stary in Krakow, Teatr Slaski in Katowice, Teatr Wspolczesny in Wrocław, Teatr Polski in Warsaw as well as a number of foreign theaters.
Honorary Member of the International Association of Artists AIAP / IAA at UNESCO. He was awarded the Knight's Cross, Commander's Cross, Commander's Cross with the Star and the Great Order of the Rebirth of Poland.
He represented Poland at the International Biennial of Art in 1970 and 1990 in Venice, and in 1979 and 1989 in São Paulo.
His works can be found in numerous museum collections, including at the Auschwitz Museum, National Museum in Warsaw, the National Museum in Krakow, the National Museum in Wrocław and the Museum of Art in Łódź, Hirshholm Museum Washington, the Museum of Modern Art in Osaka, the Theater Museum in Warsaw and Krakow, the Museum at Majdanek, at the Polish Sculpture Center in Orońsko, at the Scenography Center Polish Museum of Silesia in Katowice, Studio Art Center in Warsaw and in museum and private collections.
Katarzyna Napiorkowska Gallery
Świętokrzyska 32, Warsaw
June 19 - July 1, 2018
vernissage: June 19, 2018 at 19.00
Katarzyna Napiorkowska Gallery- Brussels
Mont des Arts 8, Brussels