press release

State of Life is an attempt to communicate the Polish experience to recipients from a different culture. The exhibition’s point of departure is the idea that the experience of a community living in a specific place and a specific culture can be transmitted using the language of art, thus becoming accessible for those who haven’t personally participated in it.

Presenting Polish art at the National Art Museum of China, State of Life aims to reflect the complex balance of forces and tensions shaping reality in today’s Poland as it undergoes modernization and globalization processes. The exhibition raises questions about what the Polish articulation of living through culture and art can contribute to global art, a heir of avant-garde, abstract, and conceptual traditions, as well as to globalized culture.

The exhibition features some 70 works by artists who concern themselves with the present-day situation in Poland yet work in a truly global vein. It is precisely the achievements of artists from generations enjoying full access to participation in global culture that the exhibition presents in the widest selection.

One of the show’s main themes is a reflection on the Polish landscape, both natural and urban, and social structures. Another is how subjectivity is shaped in Polish culture, and the key tropes here include personality formation, relations with other individuals, or the work of affects and memory.

In the context of these themes, the exhibition also presents selected works from the history of Polish modern art, e.g. by Władysław Strzemiński, Katarzyna Kobro, Andrzej Wróblewski, Ewa Partum, Tadeusz Kantor, or Alina Szapocznikow. These works too are shown through the lens not so much of history as of their present-day significance.

The exhibition aims to exploit to the fullest the intercultural cooperation facilitated by the development of global art. This is a different mode than an international cooperation consisting in the exchange of ideas or goods between cultures according to a hierarchy formulated by the political/economic center. In the context of such relations, State of Life asks important questions about the contemporary form of Polishness and the possibility of its globalization.

curator: Jarosław Lubiak

artists: Paweł Althamer, Ewa Axelrad, Mirosław Bałka, Wojciech Bąkowski, Michał Budny, Rafał Bujnowski, Olaf Brzeski, Marek Chlanda, Tomasz Ciecierski, Edward Dwurnik, Nicolas Grospierre, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Piotr Janas, Łukasz Jastrubczak, Adam Jastrzębski, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Agnieszka Kalinowska, Tadeusz Kantor, Leszek Knaflewski, Katarzyna Kobro, Tomasz Kozak, Katarzyna Kozyra, Zofia Kulik, Kamil Kuskowski, Norman Leto, Zbigniew Libera, Robert Maciejuk, Jan Manski, Angelika Markul, Anna Molska, Magdalena Moskwa, Jerzy Nowosielski, Roman Opałka, Ewa Partum, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Zbigniew Rogalski, Tadeusz Rolke, Zofia Rydet, Wilhelm Sasnal, Jan Simon, Aleksandra Ska, Łukasz Skąpski, Jan Smaga, Mikołaj Smoczyński, Magdalena Starska, Władysław Strzemiński, Alina Szapocznikow, Radek Szlaga, Leon Tarasewicz, Andrzej Wasilewski, Julita Wójcik, Andrzej Wróblewski, Monika Zawadzki, Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, Zorka Projekt