Museum of Contemporary Sculpture
The Power of Nature
Henry Moore in Poland
Centre of Polish Sculpture in Oronsko
21 April - 9th September 2018
Curators: Eulalia Domanowska, Hannah Higham
Opening of the exhibition on Saturday, 21 April 2018, at 2 pm.
In the spring and summer 2018, the Centre of Polish Sculpture together with the Henry Moore Foundation from Perry Green in Great Britain are organizing the exhibition of the artist’s works. The display of Moore’s sculptures will be shown alongside the examples of works by Polish 20th century sculptors who took inspiration from his art. The monumental works will be presented in Orońsko parkland while the smaller, bronze works and models will be shown at the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture and the Orangery Gallery. They will be accompanied by photographs of Henry Moore’s studio and a film about his oeuvre.
The presentation of Henry Moore’s sculptures will also take place at The Four Domes Pavilion in Wroclaw from 29 September 2018 to 23 January 2019, and at the National Museum in Krakow where it will be open from 23 February to the end of June 2019.
By organizing the exhibition of Henry Moore in the summer season 2018, the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko would like to remember the figure and oeuvre of one of the most renowned sculptors in the world, who became a master for many generations of the 20th century artists. The organic, fluid form of his works situated in the open-air is without a doubt his instantly recognizable style and a symbol of his remarkable ability to combine art with nature. Together with Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore is the author of the power of the British sculpture of the last century. His name is mentioned not only alongside the 20th century artists like Jean Arp or Ossip Zadkine, but is situated among the group of the greatest sculptors ever, next to Michelangelo or Donatello. Therefore, the work of this British artist is worth remembering from time to time.
In the 1930s, Henry Moore was one of the key figures in the British art, and in the next decade he became a leading figure in the world art. His works had a significant impact on many generations of sculptors. Their main theme was a human figure or a group, treated monumentally and in a synthetic form. Throughout the sixty years of his work, he was returning to two themes in particular: a reclining figure as well as a mother and child. He drew inspiration from ancient art, primitive art and renaissance art (especially Donatello and Michelangelo) in addition to his contemporary artists and the new trends in modernist art. Nature and the possibility to present in sculpture its ‘spiritual’ character were for him an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
During the war the artist produced a series of excellent Drawings from Shelters depicting Londoners sheltering from the Blitz in the tunnels of the London Underground.
After the war he was mainly making sculptures in cast bronze, and his work was a link between figuration and abstraction. Henry Moore’s art, as well as British modern sculpture, attracted the interest of Polish critique after the thaw in 1956. Polish eminent scholars wrote about it, such as Jacek Woźniakowski, Aleksander Wojciechowski or Jerzy Stajuda. Polish sculptors of those days noticed the new formal resolutions of the English artist, as well as – as Piotr Krakowski, another outstanding theoretician of sculpture maintains – ‘what mattered (…) was the contents, the whole rich ideological layer, humanistic values, (…) a reference to tradition and a pursuit of an organic bond with nature’.
The exhibition in Orońsko is a continuation of the presentations of great masters who can offer inspiration for the young generation of students of art, and provide a plethora of unique emotions to the viewers. The visitors are going to see 23 works of Henry Moore, including 5 monumental sculptures in the park. For the first time in Poland, we are going to see the monumental Oval with Points or Knife Edge Two Pieces. The exhibition contains both figural sculpture: typical of Moore, reclining figures, animalist sculpture, and the more abstract ones, like e.g. Sheep. The show will be an important reminder of Moore and the relations of Polish 20th century sculptors with his way of seeing. After the exhibition in 1959 at the Warsaw Zachęta, organized by the British Council, the works were later shown in other Polish cities. Another large presentation was not held until 1995 in Warsaw and Krakow.
The current exhibition, organized 22 years later, includes the works of outstanding Polish sculptors, especially those who took part in the presentation Sculpture in the Garden, organized by Jadwiga Jarnuszkiewicz in 1957 in the park around the neo-renaissance seat of the Association of Polish Architects (SARP) in Foksal street in Warsaw. Undoubtedly, these artists were inspired by Henry Moore’s words. ‘I’ve made almost all of my sculptures – regardless of their size – in the open air. That is why I live in the country… at any moment I can take the figure or group that I’m working on outdoors, through the double door of my studio so that I can see what they look like in the open air and in proportion to the trees’. The exhibition of Polish sculptors was an attempt to integrate the sculptural, figurative forms of organic shapes with nature. Only in the Orońsko exhibition are we going to present the sculptures of Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, Alina Szapocznikow, Magdalena Więcek, Alina Ślesińska, Tadeusz Łodziana, Barbara Zbrożyna, as well as Henryk Wiciński, Anna Dębska, Adam Procki, Maria Pinińska-Bereś and Ludmiła Stehnova.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue as well as the third edition of the international conference Sculpture Today organized in October, this time devoted to art in landscape and sculpture parks.
The conference is held under the Patronage of the Embassy of Great Britain in Warsaw and the Polish Section of the International Association of Art Critics AICA.
The exhibition of the sculptures by Henry Moore and eleven Polish sculptors will be the artistic highlight of 2018 at the Centre of Polish Sculpture, organized in the year of the 80th anniversary of the British Council in Poland.
National Museum in Wroclaw: 29 September 2018 – 23 January 2019
National Museum in Krakow: 21 February – 30 June 2019
The exhibition is held under the Honorary Patronage of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Prof. Piotr Gliński.
Co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
The partner of the exhibition is British Council Poland.
The exhibition has been organised in partnership with the Henry Moore Foundation