Piotr Słodkowski. Against war, against fascism, but what else?
Art Against War and Fascism in the 20th and 21st Centuries

The first part of the conference “Never Again” entitled “Art Against War and Fascism in the 20th and 21st Centuries”, takes up the debate underway in the field of art and elsewhere on the forms of engagement by the artistic community and cultural institutions in historically crucial moments.

Presentation abstract: Piotr Słodkowski, "Against war, against fascism, but what else? Marek Oberländer's Branded"

The point of departure for my presentation is the belief that the Arsenal show (1955) should be viewed not only as a major event in the history of the Polish ideoza (interrelations between art and politics, socialist realism and the thaw), but also as an important site for the emergence of art addressing the issue of war and the Holocaust. Assuming this perspective, I focus on Branded by Marek Oberländer. By relating this painting to Nazi visual documents from the ghettos and placing the painting in the sociohistorical context of the post-war era and the thaw, I will seek to present Branded as a valuable historical witness which is an example of the realization of the ideological slogan “Against war, against fascism” and also a trace of the difficult existence of Jews in Poland not only during the Nazi occupation but also under the realities of the Polish People’s Republic. 

Piotr Słodkowski

an art historian and lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He is a graduate of the doctoral program of the Artes Liberales Academy. He wrote the book Modernizm żydowsko-polski. Henryk Streng / Marek Włodarski a historia sztuki (Jewish-Polish Modernism: Henryk Streng/Marek Włodarski and Art History, 2019), and edited the volumes Przestrzeń społeczna. Historie mówione Złotego Grona i Biennale Sztuki Nowej (Social Space: Oral Histories of the Golden Circle and the Biennale of New Art, 2014) and (with Agata Pietrasik) Czas debat. Antologia krytyki artystycznej z lat 1945–1954 (A Time of Debates: An Anthology of Artistic Criticism 1945–1954, 2016). He is a two-time winner of the Szczęsny Dettloff Prize of the Polish Association of Art Historians (2017 and 2018). He is interested in Polish and Central European art of the twentieth century from the perspective of contemporary humanistic thought.

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Other events from that cycle: