Andrzej Wróblewski - FROM WITHIN / FROM WITHOUT

  • Andrzej Wróblewski - FROM WITHIN / FROM WITHOUT

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw organized in the begining of September 2013 an international conference dedicated to the life and work of Andrzej Wróblewski (1927-1957) – a legend of Polish post-war art.

In Poland, Andrzej Wróblewski is undoubtedly one of the most famous post-war artists. But in Poland only. It is time his prolific and most diverse oeuvre, however painted over a very short period of time and in the most troubled of times, receives a more international attention. The conference organized at the Modern Art Museum in Warsaw will propose the first extensive project for a new reading of this work in a global context. This conference will look at his idiosyncratic and highly complex oeuvre from many different perspectives, gathering international and Polish scholars. It follows a closed seminar that took place in Krakow and Warsaw in 2012 and established the basis for an international perspective on Wróblewski’s oeuvre.

Wróblewski was approached not only as a painter involved in political changes in Poland at the turn of the 1950s, but also as a creator of an immensely suggestive vision of war and degradation of man. Simultaneously, his oeuvre cannot be conveniently pigeonholed as he also created propaganda paintings and formal experiments on the verge of abstraction. Torn between political involvement and artistic experimentation, he created an individual, highly suggestive formula for figurative painting, which still inspires and serves as a benchmark for next generation artists. The conference at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw aims at creating new interpretations and put the artist’s rich legacy into the international context of art history.

The two days symposium was divided in four sessions, with a panel discussion. The texts presented at the conference will be part of the publication which will accompany Andrzej Wróblewski’s comprehensive exhibition planned at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in autumn 2014.



Jerome Bazin

Associate professor at the university of Paris-Est Créteil. He received a ph.D in history and art history with a dissertation on the social history of East German art from 1949 to 1989. He is currently working on socialist realism in other national contexts: Poland, Italy, Hungary, ect. He is also editing with Pascal Dubourg Glatigny and Piotr Piotrowski a book on artistic exchange within communist Europe.

Katarzyna Bojarska

Assistant professor at the Institute of Literary Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) – member of the Team for the Research into the Literature and Culture of the Late Modernity; member of Franz Kafka’s University of Muri. Author of papers and translations, interested in the interrelationships among art, literature, history and psychoanalysis. Translator of such books as “Historia w okresie przejściowym. Doświadczanie, tożsamość, teoria krytyczna” by Dominick LaCapra [original title: History in Transit: Experience, Identity, Critical Theory] (Cracow 2009). Author of the book entitled Wydarzenia po Wydarzeniu: Białoszewski – Richter –Spiegelman (Warsaw 2013). Fulbright scholarship programme beneficiary at Cornell University, Ithaca NY. From 2012 to 2014, person in charge of the grant received from Narodowy Program na Rzecz Rozwoju Humanistyki [the National Programme for the Development of Arts] entitled “Świat jako archiwum – krytyczne modele historyczności” [“The World as an Archive – critical models of historicity”] and the grant received from Narodowe Centrum Nauki w IBL PAN [the National Science Centre of IBL PAN] entitled “Wydarzenia po Zagładzie” [“Events after the Holocaust”].

Éric de Chassey

Director of the French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici since 2009. He is also Professor of Contemporary Art History at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon. Since the beginning, his scientific activities have focused on a cultural area - the US- and a theme- abstract art. But he has also worked on Matisse, photography, the history of transnational artistic relationships, the notions of tradition and resistance in reception, as well as the relationships between art and society, from the beginning of the XXth century to the present. His research has been publicised through books, symposia and exhibitions. He has published books and essays on XXth and XXIst century art, among them La violence décorative: Matisse et les Etats-Unis (1998), La peinture efficace, Une histoire de l'abstraction aux États-Unis, 1910-1960 (2001), Pascal Pinaud, Transpainting (2003), Eugène Leroy, Autoportrait (2004), Platitudes, Une histoire de la photographie plate (2006), Olivier Debré, monographie (2007), Marcia Hafif, Italian Paintings 1961-1969 (2010), Philippe Gronon (2010) and Pour l'Histoire de l'Art (2011).

He has also curated numerous exhibitions, accompanied by publications, including Abstraction-Abstractions: Provisional Geometries (Saint-Étienne Museum of modern art, 1997); “[Corps] Social” (Paris, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, 1999), “ Made in USA : American Art from 1908 to 1948” (Bordeaux, Gallery of Fine Arts; Rennes, Museum of Fine Arts; Montpellier, Museum of Fine Arts; 2001–2002); “Kelly-Matisse, Plant Drawings” (Paris, Centre Pompidou; Saint Louis Art Museum; 2002); “Stroll On! British Abstraction, 1959–1967” (Geneva, MAMCO, 2005–2006); “Repartir à zéro, comme si la peinture n'avait jamais existé, 1945–1949” (Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, 2008–2009); “Alex Katz: An American Way of Seeing” (Sara Hilden Museum, Tampere; Museum of Fine Arts, Grenoble; Museum Kurhaus, Kleve, 2009); “La pesanteur et la grâce, Abstractions et spiritualité” (Collège des Bernardins, Paris; French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici, 2010–2011); “Les mutants” (French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici, 2010); “Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres - Ellsworth Kelly” (French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici, 2010); “Europunk. The Visual Culture of Punk in Europe, 1976–1980” (French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici; Mamco, Geneva; Charleroi, BPS22; 2010–2011); “Poussin et Moïse. Du dessin à la tapisserieˮ (French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici; Bordeaux, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 2011); “Les sujets de l’abstraction. Peinture non-figurative de la seconde École de Paris. 101 chefs-d’œuvre de la Fondation Gandur pour l’art” (Geneva, Musée Rath; Montpellier, Musée Fabre; 2011–2012); “Jean-Marc Bustamante” (Pieter Saenredam) – Villa Medici (French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici, 2012), “Soulages XXIe siècle” (Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon; French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici, 2012–2013). He is currently working on several exhibitions that will take place in Italy, France, Algeria and Poland, about Djamel Tatah, Jean-Luc Moulène, Andrzej Wroblewski, the end of painting and its return in Rome and Paris between the 1960s and 1980s, the visual culture of the European ultra-left in the 1970s.

Jean-François Chevrier

Art historian, art critic, professor at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris since 1988; founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine “Photographies” (1982–1985), general advisor for the Documenta X (1997). For 30 years his main centres of interest have been the exchanges between art and literature in the 20th century, history of photography, art since the 1960’s, and architecture. Seven volumes of his writings are being published by Éditions L’Arachnéen, Paris (2010–2014).

David Crowley

Professor in the School of Humanities at the Royal College of Art, London, where he runs the Critical Writing in Art & Design MA. He is the author of various books including National Style and Nation-State. Design in Poland (1992), Warsaw (2003) and editor – with Susan Reid – of three edited volumes: Socialism and Style. Material Culture in Post-war Eastern Europe (2000); Socialist Spaces. Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc (2003); and Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc (2010). Crowley also curates exhibitions. They include “Cold War Modern” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2008–2009; “The Power of Fantasy. Modern and Contemporary Art from Poland” at BOZAR, Brussels, 2011; and “Sounding the Body Electric. Experimental Art and Music in Eastern Europe” at Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, 2012.

Tom McDonough

Associate Professor and Chair of Art History at Binghamton University, State University of New York, where he teaches the history of the European avant-gardes and modern art and architecture. His most recent book is the anthology The Situationists and the City (Verso, 2009); other publications include “The Beautiful Language of My Centuryˮ: Reinventing the Language of Contestation in Postwar France, 1945–1968 (MIT Press, OCTOBER Books, 2007), and the anthology Guy Debord and the Situationist International: Texts and Documents (MIT Press, OCTOBER Books, 2002). From 2005 to 2012 he was an editor at Grey Room and he publishes on contemporary art regularly in journals and exhibition catalogues. McDonough has been a visiting scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, a Getty Postdoctoral Fellow, and a recipient of an Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation.

Wojciech Grzybała

Art history graduate, photographer, President of the Andrzej Wróblewski Foundation, co-curator of such exhibitions as “To the Margin and Back: Andrzej Wróblewskiˮ, and “Andrzej Wróblewski. Patrzeć wciąż naprzódˮ. Editor of publications devoted to Andrzej Wróblewski.

Serge Guilbaut

Professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada). He has written on modern and contemporary art and, in particular, on cultural and political relations between the United States and France. He has published, How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom and the Cold War (University of Chicago Press, 1983; translated into 5 languages and published in French in 1990 by Éditions Jacqueline Chambon) and Voir, Ne pas Voir, Faut Voir: Essais sur la perception et la non-perception des oeuvres (Nîmes: Jacqueline Chambon, 1994). He has also edited several other works: Modernism and Modernity (Halifax, N.S.: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1983, 2006), Reconstructing Modernism: Art in New York, Paris, and Montreal, 1945–1964 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990), and Edited with John O’Brian and Bruce Barber: Voices of Fire: Art Rage, Power, and the State (on Barnett Newman); Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996). He has Co-edited with Laurent Gervereau, Laurence Bertrand Dorleac and Gérard Monnier, Où va l’histoire de l’art contemporain?, Paris, 1996. He has extensively published in an international press and organized several exhibitions: “Théodore Géricault: The Alien Body, Tradition in Chaos” (1997), “Up Against the Wall Mother Poster (on posters from 1968)” in 1999, and “Be-Bomb: The Transatlantic War of Images and All That Jazz, 1946–1956” at MACBA in Barcelona in 2007 (critics’ prize of the Association of Catalan Art Critics for the best exhibition of the year). As an artist, he has participated in several exhibitions like “Drawings”, “Vancouver”, 1996 and Artropolis, “Browser” 1997. He also had his own art retrospective in 2012 in Vancouver called “Retro-Perspective” (art and performances from 1965 to 2012).

Dorota Jarecka

Art historian and art critic, cooperating with “Gazeta Wyborcza”; she has also published her works in such magazines as “Kresy”, “Magazyn sztuki”, “Res Publica Nova”, “Dialog”, “Polityka”, “Didaskalia”. In 2011, she co-curated the exhibition entitled Erna Rosenstein. Mogę powtarzać tylko nieświadomie at the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw, and in 2013, Erna Rosenstein. Organizm at the Art Stations Gallery in Poznan. In 2011-2012, she hosted a series of meetings - “Krytycy i krytycy” at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, devoted to the condition of art criticism and the workshop of an art critic. In 2012, she was awarded the Jerzy Stajuda Prize for Art Criticism. She co-edited the book entitled Krystiana Robb-Narbutt. Rysunki, przedmioty, pracownia (2012). Member of the Citizens’ Forum for Contemporary Art and the International Association of Art Critics / AICA.

Joanna Kordjak-Piotrowska

Art historian and curator associated with the National Museum in Warsaw; currently cooperating with Zachęta – the National Gallery of Art; researcher; editor of publications on contemporary art. Curator of such exhibitions as “Andrzej Wróblewski. Przekształcenia” (the National Museum in Warsaw – Królikarnia, 2004.), “Antonisz. Sztuka jest dla mnie rodzajem techniki” (Zachęta – the National Gallery of Art, 2013). She is currently writing her PhD thesis on the issue of carnality in Andrzej Wróblewski’s art.

Karolina Lewandowska

Art historian specialising in the history of photography; President of the Archaeology of Photography Foundation which is involved in the protection and dissemination of works by leading Polish photographers. In 1999–2010, she curated photography exhibitions at Zachęta – the National Art Gallery. Author of such exhibition projects as “Dokumentalistki. Polskie fotografki XX. Wieku, Zbigniew Dłubak- Fotografie z lat 1947–1950 i 1980–2000”. Editor and author of numerous publications and essays on the history of photography.

Ulrich Loock

Art critic and curator. From 1985 to 2010 director of Kunsthalle Bern and Kunstmuseum Lucerne, both Switzerland, and deputy director of Museu de Serralves, Porto, Portugal. Currently lecturer at University of the Arts, Bern.

Jan Michalski

Art historian and art critic, publicist and publisher. Professionally involved with the Cracow Zderzak Gallery. He deals with the philosophy of art and history, the theory of value and the hermeneutics of Andrzej Wróblewski’s works of art. Winner of the Jerzy Stajuda Prize for Art Criticism. Editor of such publications as: “Andrzej Wróblewski nieznany” (1993), a catalogue raisonné “Jarosław Modzelewski. Obrazy 1977–2006” (2006), and a monograph on Jerzy Ryszard “Jurry” Zieliński “Jurry. Powrót artysty” (2010). Author of such books as: “Chłopiec na żółtym tle. Teksty o Andrzeju Wróblewskim” (2009), “Cztery eseje o dzikości” (2011, in cooperation with Marta Tarabuła). Regular collaborator of the monthly „Znak”; he also published his works in „Magazyn Artystyczny”, „Obieg”, „Kresy”, „Rzeczpospolita”, „Gazeta Wyborcza” or „Lamus”. He has lectured on art criticism for the Museum Curatorial Studies at the Jagiellonian University, history of art at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Cracow, history of the art market at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski University in Cracow.

Sarah K. Rich

Professor of art history at the Penn State College of Art and Architecture. She specialises in the art of the second half of the twentieth century, with particular focus on the American and French art in the 1950s and 1960s. Author of such publications as Past Flat: Other Sides to American Abstraction in the Cold War. Beneficiary of numerous scholarships and grants. She is currently working on a book on Jean Debuffet’s artistic links to the works of other artists. A regular writer for the Artforum magazine. Her articles and essays have been published, inter alia, in “American Art”, “October”, and “Oxford Art Journal”.

Anda Rottenberg

Art historian and critic, curator and author of numerous books and scientific papers on the subject of Polish art, including Sztuka w Polsce 1945–2005, Przeciąg. Teksty o sztuce polskiej lat 80. Between 1993–2001, Director of Zachęta the National Art Gallery. Active member of the Polish section of AICA, member of the Council of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Head of the national pavilion during the Biennale in Venice, Istanbul and Sao Paulo. Curator of important collective exhibitions, such as: “Obok. Polska- Niemcy. 1000 lat historii w sztuce” (Martin Gropius-Bau, Berlin 2011–2012), or “Gdzie jest twój brat Abel” (Zachęta the National Art Gallery 1996) dealing with the issue of Polish-German relations and the issue of Holocaust respectively. Anda Rottenberg has received many art prizes and honours, as well as national awards for her achievements.

Łukasz Ronduda

Curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, university lecturer and Doctor of Philosophy associated with the School of Social Psychology in Warsaw. Author of publications devoted to Polish art, such as Sztuka Polska lat 70. “Awangarda”; editor of collective publications and papers on art. Curator of exhibitions in Poland and abroad. The initiator of the MSN Cinema Library project Filmoteka MSN; interested in the art of neo-avant-garde and experimental films. He co-authored a novel with Łukasz Gorczyca, entitled „W połowie puste. Zycie i twórczość Oskara Dawickiego”. He cooperates with Wajda School. One of originators of the Film Award.

Magdalena Ziółkowska

Art historian and curator associated with the Lodz Art Museum since 2008. Author of the exhibition “To the Margin and Back: Andrzej Wróblewski” (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven 2010) and “Andrzej Wróblewski. Patrzeć wciąż naprzód” (the National Museum in Cracow, 2012–2013). Editor of the English version of papers by Jerzy Ludwiński entitled “Notes from the Future of Art: Selected Writings by Jerzy Ludwiński” and an anthology of papers by Zbigniew Dłubak entitled Teoria sztuki. Co-editor of the series Tytuł roboczy: archiwum. Vice-President of the Andrzej Wróblewski Foundation.


Friday, September 6, 2013


Joanna Mytkowska



Éric de Chassey



Andrzej Wróblewski between abstraction and figuration

Moderation: Luiza Nader


Luiza Nader



Serge Guilbaut

Squeezing 'modern art' between communism and liberalism: The art of Andrzej Wróblewski and Jean Hélion


Katarzyna Bojarska

Execution of Realism. Andrzej Wróblewski's traumatic images of war


Sarah Rich

The Jewish question in Andrzej Wróblewski’s work


Łukasz Ronduda

Between figuration and abstraction. Andrzej Wróblewski and the cinema



Saturday, September 7, 2013


Andrzej Wróblewski and socialist realism. Between the personal and the collective

Moderator: Julian Heynen


Julian Heynen



Karolina Lewandowska

Photography and its changeable realisms


Dorota Jarecka

Andrzej Wróblewski. Painting as Self-criticism


Jérôme Bazin

The crippled working class. Wróblewski 's socialist realism in Nowa Huta


David Crowley

Andrzej Wróblewski and the politics of testimony


Tom McDonough

On the Death of Stalin: Wróblewski and "Mourning News"




Lunch break


Andrzej Wróblewski's thawing

Moderator: Marta Dziewańska


Marta Dziewańska



Joanna Kordjak-Piotrowska

Man-abstraction. The art of Andrzej Wróblewski at the time of the thaw


Ulrich Loock

Andrzej Wróblewski - A work of fragmentation


Jean-François Chevrier

The inclusive lyrical construction of Andrzej Wróblewski


Jan Michalski

Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and his role in the soteriology of Andrzej Wróblewski. A study on the symbolic imagination of the post-war artist




Andrzej Wróblewski after Andrzej Wróblewski

Moderator: Joanna Mytkowska


Joanna Mytkowska



Anda Rottenberg

Pythagorean trap


Wojciech Grzybała & Magdalena Ziółkowska

Time for a retrospective view




Roundtable chaired by Éric de Chassey

Cycle documentation:

See also: