Barbara Kozłowska; From East to West, Through the Globe, Towards the Moon
While in Prague Jiří Kovanda took to the streets and the Slovenian OHO Group resettled to the Vipava Valley, Barbara Kozłowska left her Wrocław studio and hit the beach. Like many other artists working within the geopolitical region now commonly referred to as the misnomer ‘Eastern Europe’ they were constructing work ‘within nature’. And yeah, given this and the poetics many of their oeuvres share, an assumption can quickly be made that at the time a cultural movement was brewing throughout ‘Eastern Europe’ which held a pioneering focus on the interconnectedness of art and ecology. Still, while this isn’t necessarily untrue, what shouldn’t be overlooked is the reality that each of these works inherently took on a—however subtle—political stance against the institutional structures (of art) surrounding them, and the location in which they were made played a role in that too. Where else can you go to show your work and voice your opinions if your practice isn’t accepted by the state controlled artscene? Where do you go from here?
Enter Barbara Kozłowska (1940–2008): a painter who abandoned painting for sculpture, a sculptor who did not stay faithful to any of the accepted schools, a concrete poet, installation artist and para-theatrical performer without métier, an oddball even amongst oddballs and, the centre of attention in our forthcoming exhibition From East to West, Through the Globe, Towards the Moon, which will open at Kunstverein on 30 September. This exhibition marks the late artist’s first institutional solo show outside of Poland and celebrates an under-appreciated proponent of the Polish neo-avantgarde who actively committed to interrogating space and its organising principles. It brings together Kozłowska’s plural practice through concrete poetry, ephemera and publications, sculpture and correspondence, a restaging of two early sculptural installations as well as documentation of her performances—designed for various places around the world, even if realised in only a few. Within the framework of Kozłowska’s exhibition, Kunstverein is happy to announce a series of events that will expand on Kozłowska’s practice.
Opening night: September 30, 8pm
Followed by an After Party at Butchers Tears from 10pm
Talking points and framework: October 1, 4–5pm
A talk by Marika Kuźmicz/ Fundacja Arton on Barbara and her peers (free)
Babbel Gallery: November 26, 2pm
Alex Balgiu (US/FR), co-editor of the anthology Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979, joins us for a deep dive into Kozłowska’s use of concrete poetry while touching upon other constellations of women artists working at the intersection of the verbal and visual who sought to liberate words from the conventions of genre, gender, and the strictures of the patriarchy and normative syntax. (Limited spots. Entree: €5, free for members).
Point of View: December 1–17
An online film program expanding on Kozłowska’s interests and methodologies, in collaboration with Springs.video (free)
Kunstvereinthanks Marika Kuźmicz, Fundacja Arton, Zbiegniew Makarewicz and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute for their support of this exhibition. We would also like to thank our members, our supporters, Reform, Senso, and Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst for their continued support. For further information, please contact us via office [ at ] kunstverein.nl