Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art | ul. Jazdów 2
00-467 Warsaw

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artists & participants

press release

Disasters of War is the first ever presentation in Poland of the works of Henry Darger, perhaps the world?s most famous ?outsider? artist. Completely self-taught, Darger spent almost all his life working as a janitor at a Chicago area hospital. He protected himself from the cruelty he perceived as existing in the outside world by retreating into his own fantasy reality, one he portrayed in a series of unusual watercolors illustrating a short prose piece he wrote titled The Story of the Vivian Girls in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal or the Glandelinian War Storm or the Glandico-Abbiennian Wars as Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. In approximately three hundred paintings that obsessively repeat certain themes ranging from cruelty to a deep, naive faith, Henry Darger portrayed the cosmic struggle of the forces of good, lead by the seven Vivian Princesses, against the forces of evil, which he equated with the world of adults.

Darger?s paintings, discovered after his death in the 1970s, were initially presented in exhibitions devoted to naive or non-professional art. More recently, however, they have increasingly been seen as a phenomenon as essential to art of the 20th century as works by some of the most important ?professional? artists of this time. Many of Darger?s works seem to be a harbinger of the work of today?s young contemporary artists. This exhibition at the CCA features several dozen of Henry Darger?s most spectacular painted works.

Exhibition organized in co-operation with the PS 1 and MoMA galleries of New York and the Kunst-Werke in Berlin. Exhibition made possible through the generous support of Mrs. Kiyoko Lerner. The works on view derive from the collection of Mrs. Kiyoko Lerner and are presented thanks to the generosity of the Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA


only in german

Henry Darger - Disasters of War
Kuratoren: Klaus Biesenbach, Pawel Polit