Curator: Jolanta Ciesielska
Assistance from the side of Laznia CCA: Jola Woszczenko

Artists participating in exhibition:
Andrzej Awsiej, Mirosław Bałka, Krzysztof Bednarski, Ewa Ciepielewska, Zbigniew Maciej Dowgiałło, Mirosław Filonik, Waldemar Major Fydrych, Anna Gruszczyńska, Ryszard Grzyb, Bożena Grzyb-Jarodzka, Marek Janiak, Paweł Jarodzki, Marek Kijewski, Grzegorz Klaman, Leszek Knaflewski, Jerzy Kosałka, Paweł Kowalewski, Andrzej Kwietniewski, Andrzej Egon Miastkowski, Eugeniusz Minciel, Piotr Młodożeniec, Jarosław Modzelewski, Zdzisław Nitka, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Marek Rogulski, Adam Rzepecki, Stanisław Sielicki, Krzysztof Skarbek, Marek Sobczyk, Paweł Susid, Eugeniusz Szczudło, Andrzej Świetlik, Wojciech Tracewski, Jerzy Truszkowski, Andrzej Makary Wielogórski, Ryszard Woźniak...


An exhibition of Polish art of the 1980s, or the style of new expression. Its representatives expressed through painting, sculpture, film and happening, not limiting their activity to artistic work alone. Using the opportunity, their stirred up the artistic life of the whole art scene, organising festivals, plein-air sessions, rallies and manifestations, printing leaflets and hybrid magazines.
A participant and eye witness of the majority of the events, Jolanta Ciesielska, has gathered the most interesting works created at that time, and an impressive documenting material, including it into an exhibition produced by the Centre of Culture and Art in Wrocław, acting within the framework of the Lower-Silesian Art Festival.


They were bold, witty and laidback, they liked taking risk, provoking and rebellious. The Polish ‘Wild’ – it is them we are considering here - were the very crème de la crème of the Polish art in the 80s, the art, which has not ended up with years on some derelict sidings but rather drawing admiration today thanks to its perversity, novel formal achievements and uncompromising. They engaged in all types and forms of creation – holding special actions and happenings, painting, sculpting, making movies, writing manifestoes, poetry and essays (and it is only a fraction of what they did). They staged plays, published leaflets, patterns and posters, organised festivals and plainairs, but also staged protests and public events. They would open and run independent art galleries and studios; to cut a long story short they lived their lives to the full, as if in stark contrast to the murky and sometimes dangerous realities of life in a state under martial law followed by decadent and hopeless terminal phase of communism. It is justified to say that with all that well developed self-organisation, the artists created a sort of a state within a state, their own independent banana republic, where there was no censorship or any other conventional codes of behaviour. Making use of their art they created a world free from any constraints, a world of hilarious and jolly anarchy, an ‘upside down’ world of a never ending arts carnival. Treating life directly as matter blended with untamed imagination and determination, which characterized all the presented artists with no exceptions, created a highly inflammable concoction feared and unbearable not only for the conventional exhibition halls and official art institutions but also for the regime functionaries, officials and the secret police, which was part of everyday experience for participants in Orange Alternative happenings, totart gatherings or Goin’ Dutch culture festivals. Despite numerous gestures (see Maryla Sitkowska’s agenda) or efforts to become part of actively operating world of art developing actively under the Catholic Church auspices, it was clear that ‘the wild’ never belonged there. Partly because of overt anticlericalism, party due to inner church censorship and mainly because of the fact that in terms of aesthetics, modes of action and mentality the divide between them and the Church was simply too deep. The national-clerical movement represented the deadly serious sacrum of the art while the wild epitomized the Dionysian joy of profanum. These two were completely separate and incompatible worlds. Although they sometimes met at Church galleries at Zytnia street in Warsaw (‘Presence’ exhibition, 1985), in a church in Poznan (‘Polish Pieta’ exhibition organized in 1986 to commemorate Poznan June tragic events), at the gallery owned by the Saint Cross Church at the Ostrow in Wrocław, at ‘Track and Truth’ festivals or exhibitions held by Nina Smolarz and Janusz Bogucki (‘Seven Spaces Epitaph’) or finally at Zachęta gallery at an exhibition entitled ‘What is an artist for at times of misery?’ organised by Tadeusz Boruta – the leading curator of the ‘clerical’ movement, the wild were far more preoccupied with ‘lay’ exhibitions held by their ardent fans in the persons of Andrzej Bonarski and Maria Sitkowska, Anda Rottenberg, Ryszard Ziarkiewicz, Stefan Ficner. It has been twenty years now since the most important events forthe ‘new expression’ in Poland took place, including ‘Figures and Objects’ (Polish Sculpture Centre in Orońsk, IV 1986), “The 80s Expression’ (BWA Sopot VI 1986), ‘Moby Dick”(Gdynia, X 1987), “What’s Up?”(Zakłady Norblina,Warszawa XI 1987). However, just as important were individual exhibits often organised on their own in their own galleries: Warsaw “Dziekanka” and “Stodoła”, Posnan “Wielka 19”, Lodz “Strych”, “Wyspa” and “C14” in Gdansk. Regular review events are worth mentioning here as well, such as New Art Biennale in Zielona Góra, which took off in 1985 or ‘Track and Truth’ The Young Biennale, which came into being in 1987 and was held in St. Martin Church in Wrocław, where our ‘expressionist’ artists were even awarded (Eugeniusz Minciel, Luxus). The artists performed in groups to strengthen the impact and help one another to pluck up the courage. A plethora of art groups usually created by a few people were formed -”Łódź Kaliska”(1979),”Pomarańczowa Alternatywa” (1981) ”Luxus”(1982), ”Gruppa”(the end of 1982),”Koło Klipsa”(1983),”Neue Bieriemiennost’(1985), TOTART (1986),”Wspólnota Leeeżeć”(1989). All of them are represented at our exhibition, which has been expanded to include as well the artists who had chosen to pursue individual career paths: Krzysztof Skarbek, Eugeniusz Mincel, Paweł Susid, Maciej Dowigałło, Krzysztof Bednarski, Wojciech Tracewski, Anna Gruszczyńska, Grzegorz Klaman, Eugeniusz Szczudło, Jerzy Truszkowski, Zdziśław Nitka. In all, the ‘Banana Republic’. The 80s Expression’ exhibition presents approximately 150 works (paintings, sculptures, drawings and films) made by 40 artists responsible for creating a phenomenon called ‘New Expression’ or ‘polnische neue wilde’.
Exhibition organized by The Culture and Art Centre in Wrocław within the framework of Lower-Silesian Art Festival, co-financed from resourses of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage within the framework of Operational Programme „ Promotion of the creativity”.
Municipal Institution of Culture