XX + XXI. Sculpture

3 June 2022

The XX + XXI. Polish Art Gallery of the National Museum in Krakow is expanding in June with a new space dedicated to sculpture of the mid-20th century onwards. This space is the last on the visitors’ route through the gallery, and is a complement to the 20th century sculpture gallery located in in the hall on the second floor, and thus blends the multifaceted history of modern Polish sculpture into a single whole.

The groundbreaking nature of sculpture in the 20th century becomes visible during the second half of the period. The increased significance of the concept of space resulted at that time in a violent departure from figurative sculpture towards experimental forms, such as installation and environment. The human figure, though it ceased to be the exclusive synonym of sculpture, still remains a core theme in artistic work; subjected to transformations, deformed, it illustrates the tension between academic traditions and avant-garde tendencies, becoming itself a new medium for conveying meaning. Sculpture in the 20th and 21st centuries also makes use of a multitude of previously unused materials and represents a fresh outlook on traditional materials.

The limited exhibition space available has forced a synthetic approach to displaying these sculptural works, which are linked by shared themes which can be seen in both the content as well as the form of the works presented.
The themes of corporeality and of the body as a symbol, as a motif of memory and also the broadly understood constructive movement are all intertwined with the idea of space and spatiality.

The exhibition presents both canonical works and less obvious choices from well-known sculptors, as well as works which have been unfairly forgotten or under-represented in the discourse on contemporary art. The selection and arrangement of the works inclines viewers to discover modern Polish sculpture anew.

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