On October 15, 2020, in Ljubljana (Slovenia) a unique event promoting the work of Andrzej Wróblewski will take place – the opening of the exhibition Andrzej Wróblewski. Waiting Room. This is the first foreign show that focuses on the final years of the artist’s work. The exhibition at Moderna galerija, one of the most prestigious museums of modern art in Europe, consists of over 120 works created between 1955 and 1957. A large number of these paintings have never been exhibited or haven’t been displayed for over sixty years. The exhibition is the largest undertaking in the eight-year activity of the Andrzej Wróblewski Foundation, which carries out the mission of promoting the artist’s work in Poland and around the world. The show is organized in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Andrzej Wróblewski. Waiting Room at Moderna galerija
Moderna galerija is one of the oldest and most prestigious museums in Central Europe. For several decades, it has initiated daring exhibition and academic projects devoted to the heritage of post-war Yugoslavia and Central and Eastern Europe. The exhibition Andrzej Wróblewski. Waiting Room will be on show in Slovenia’s capital for three months – until January 10, 2021.
Across six rooms with a total area of over 800 m2, over 120 works by Andrzej Wróblewski from the final period of his life [i.e., 1955–1957] will be presented. They will include three well-known paintings Waiting Room I, The Queue Continues, Waiting Room II, (Chairing I), and Tombstone, (Tombstone of a Womanizer), as well as numerous gouaches, monotypes, and a dozen or so large-format works created on brown packaging paper. Among them, a great majority are works that have never been exhibited before or were last shown to a wider audience in 1958.
This is the first exhibition of Wróblewski’s work outside of Poland in which the curatorial team – Magdalena Ziółkowska and Wojciech Grzybała from the Andrzej Wróblewski Foundation and Marko Jenko from Moderna galerija – has focused on the final years of the artist’s work. This period symbolically begins on May 10, 1954 with the birth of Andrzej’s firstborn son, known to his family as Kitek, and ends with Wróblewski’s death on March 23, 1957 in the Tatra Mountains.
“Waiting room mentality”
The metaphorical through line of the exhibition rests upon two symbolic figures—people pinned to chairs in anticipation, reflection, and timelessness; degraded, anonymous, and undifferentiated. This “waiting-room mentality,” as the German playwright Heiner Müller once called it, is characteristic of the experience of Communist Central and Eastern Europe. Magdalena Ziółkowska explains: “The exhibition can be treated as an attempt to answer the question of why, after more than seventy years, it is worth returning to the artist’s 1956 trip to Yugoslavia. For some, this will be an analysis of government documents, a careful look at the collected facts, or reading daily entries in the artist’s diary. For others, this will be a journey full of questions and hypotheses, a journey shrouded in mystery.” And although everyday life in Yugoslavia during Tito’s rule differed so much from the economic conditions and the socio-artistic situation of the Polish People’s Republic and other countries behind the Iron Curtain, such perspective allows one to take on more universal matters related to moral existence, bodily regimes, as well as affective labor and mourning.
The exhibition focuses on six themes. The first, the protagonists of which are the delegates, is the reconstruction of Wróblewski and art critic Barbara Majewska’s trip to Yugoslavia between October 30 and November 21, 1956. The delegates are, of course, Andrzej Wróblewski and Barbara Majewska. “It is apparent that this journey was undertaken at a time when Wróblewski was suffering a complex personal crisis that forced him to reconsider his own artistic stance. In this sense, as Barbara Majewska has explained, the trip ‘was not only a trip in the atmosphere of the Polish October, but also a trip south.’ In other words this was primarily a sensual journey to experience ‘other hill forms, other smells, flora, other kinds of light, other buildings, and other people.’”
The curators present numerous archival materials, photographs, documents, and artworks, in which one can find direct inspirations from Yugoslav contemporary art, figures such as Lazar Vujaklija, but also landscape, folklore, local architecture, and “stećci”—carved stone tombstones found in this part of Europe. “Many of his works painted after this visit in late 1956 and early 1957 display a striking anticipation—or rather a frightening intuition—of death, in their focus on the motifs of tombstones and funerals, just as other works of that period converged on the motifs of the petrifaction or reification of the human body.”
Their complete form is the monumental canvas Tombstone, (Tombstone of a Womanizer), whose protagonist, the womanizer, is full of contradictions. The theme of the womanizer is the second part of the exhibition. This figure constitutes a roadmap to a collection of eighty-six monotypes, probably created at the turn of 1956/1957. At the exhibition, we will see thirty-three from the thirty-five so far recovered artist’s monotypes. It is in this technique that Wróblewski evokes themes present in his early work—fish, horses, violins, vehicles, and the chauffeur; but one subject firmly occupying the artist’s attention is the female body, transformed in countless ways and depicted with numerous attributes. Because these works reference all of the most important themes raised by Wróblewski throughout his lifetime, this series is considered to be his “artistic last will.”
The third question taken up in the exhibition, on which the viewers are led by the chaired man—more a specter than a hero/protagonist—is the theme of waiting, the mesmerizing inventory of waiting rooms, queues, and chairings. Here are works exhibited during Wróblewski’s lifetime at the 3rd Exhibition of the “Po Prostu” Salon at Warsaw’s Jewish Theater in August 1956, as well as various depictions of women and portraits of a young model.
Another part of the exhibition, whose protagonists are mothers and daughters, nurturers, carers, lovers, and wives, is dedicated to the day-to-day of Wróblewski’s home life, and motherhood. Numerous portraits of Wróblewski’s wife, female nudes, interiors of the artist’s Kraków apartment and studio are engaged in a dialogue with the famous Mothers, Anti-Fascists painting, submitted by the artist to the Polish Exhibition of Young Art under the slogan “Against War, Against Fascism,” organized as part of the 5th World Festival of Youth and Students in the summer of 1955.
A separate space has been devoted to works organized around the theme of the boy—a very important and widely unknown topic in the artist’s late work, led by the famous canvas, Boy against a Yellow Background, Model, (A Boy).
The last part of the exhibition consists of the artist’s works from which emerges the figure of the protagonist—a hero with a twofold nature, heading for the unknown, beyond the horizon, somewhere straight ahead, in a timeless vehicle. Sometimes, he is the chauffeur, other times—the passenger. As Branislav Dimitrijević writes in his essay, “Wróblewski’s Rückenfigur,” this double figure is also the literary protagonist of Różewicz, Apollinaire, and Lorca’s poetry—visually untranslatable, but filled with a suggestive mood.
The exhibition was preceded by a three-year conservation project led by the Andrzej Wróblewski Foundation and Professor Marzenna Ciechańska from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. As part of the effort, the team carried out conservation of seventy privately owned objects on paper, constituting the majority of works on show in Ljubljana.
In addition to paintings, gouaches, monotypes, pencil and ink drawings by Wróblewski, the exhibition will feature artworks by artists from the former Yugoslavia, including some whom Wróblewski met personally, that build a common context and often establish direct dialogue with Wróblewski.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with the same title, published in English, with seven critical essays by Ivana Bago, Branislav Dimitrijević, Wojciech Grzybała, Marko Jenko, Ljiljana Kolešnik, Ewa Majewska, and Magdalena Ziółkowska. The publication also includes the presentation of archival materials, photographs from Wróblewski and Majewska’s trip, and reproductions of 220 works by the artist. The catalogue is co-published and distributed by the prestigious German publisher Hatje Cantz.
The catalogue publishing partner and co-organizer of the exhibition is the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
 With respect to the titles of the works, we have differentiated between the titles given by the artist and those given by his mother, Krystyna Wróblewska (1904–1994), as well as by curators and researchers following the artist’s death. The artist’s own title, if it exists, is provided first, followed by the title, in parentheses, published in 1958 by the artist’s mother.
 Branislav Dimitrijević, “Folklore, Modernity and Death. Wróblewski’s Visit to Yugoslavia,” in Avoiding Intermediary States. Andrzej Wróblewski (1927–1957), eds. Magdalena Ziółkowska and Wojciech Grzybała (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2014), p. 494.
 Ibid., p. 484.
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An exhibition devoted to artist’s stay in Yugoslavia and his late work. Andrzej Wróblewski. Waiting Room – 15.10.2020-10.01.2021
More than 120 works from the last years of his work. Among them there are such famous paintings as Waiting Room II, (Chairing I), Waiting Room I, The Queue Continues, Tombstone, (Tombstone of a Womaniser) numerous gouaches, monotypes, and a dozen or so large-format works created on brown packaging paper. A great majority are works that have never been exhibited before or were last shown to a wider audience in 1958.
In one of the most prestigious museums of modern art belonging to L’Internationale – Moderna galerija in Ljubljana from 15 October 2020.
Moderna galerija is one of the oldest and most prestigious museums in Central Europe, which for several decades has been initiating bold exhibition and scientific projects devoted to the heritage of post-war Yugoslavia and Central and Eastern Europe. Exhibition Andrzej Wróblewski. Waiting Room will be held in the Slovenian capital for three months – until 10 January 2021.
The exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Curators: Wojciech Grzybała, Marko Jenko, Magdalena Ziółkowska.
Andrzej Wróblewski. Waiting Room
15.10.2020 – 10.01.2021
“Late Klee”, an exhibition of more than thirty works by Paul Klee from the artist’s family collection is on show at London’s David Zwirner. As the organisers say: „The works on view in Late Klee highlight the diversity of Klee’s visual practice during this period. The play of line is evident in a series of graphic works that are often highly diaristic and personal. His skill as a colourist is presented through entirely abstract compositions as well as figurative pieces depicting mask-like faces.”
Among the presented works are the well known and frequently exhibited: Diagram of a fight (Schema eines Kampfes] (1939), Untitled (Grids and wavy lines around “T”) [Ohne Titel (Gitter und Schlangenlinien um “T”)] c. 1939 and Torture (Folter) 1938. The exhibition is accompanied by a display of early abstractions by Andrzej Wróblewski from private European collections, most of them shown for the very first time. Such juxtaposition provides an opportunity to confront Wróblewski’s work with his texts discussing inspirations including Klee’s oeuvre.
‘[…] In addition, my approach to favourite artworks is not constant but shifting. Modern art in particular is rich enough a field to provide me with a suitable ‘mentor’ at every stage of my inner life. Among the painters for whom I have a so-called weakness are Chagall, Klee, early (‘photographic’) Surrealism, the first phase of Cubism, Cézanne – each for a different reason. I like art that is extremely emotional and poetic, or extremely intellectual, one that does not seek the painting, but a method of creating creation. I like the changing artist’s personality – like that of Picasso, for instance – and the modern practice that consists not in creating individual masterpieces, but a certain succession of works that, taken together, constitute an equivalent of today’s masterpiece.’
David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street, London
Exhibition from March 6 to April 18, 2020.
Until April 12, Andrzej Wróblewski and Maria Jarema’s work is on view at the “Substantial Realism” exhibition at Spectra Art Space. Art critic Mieczysław Porębski and artist Tadeusz Kantor first wrote on the concept of “substantial realism” in the 1946 manifesto “Pro domu sua”. The formula of this realism allowed to convey abstract and ambiguous themes, but also took into account the achievements of the avant-garde. Wróblewski and Jarema are perceived as artists working in this genre. A great advantage of the exhibition is that it shows, for the first time, several of Wróblewski’s paintings known so far only from black and white reproductions created by the artist himself, e.g. a study of women with children entitled Mothers’ Martyrdom. For the first time after more than two decades one can also see a painting from the Executions series, the 1949 Wedding Photograph, Married Couple with a Bouquet. Every first Saturday of the month at 11.00 visitors can take part in curatorial tours of the exhibition and the Anna and Jerzy Starak’s collection.
Spectra Art Space, Warsaw, Bobrowiecka 6
The exhibition is open from 19.12.2019 to 14.04.2020, Monday-Friday 16-18, Saturday-Sunday 11-18
photo by Daria Pyszyńska
Since 28 September, four works by Andrzej Wróblewski – two [Abstract Compositions], [Lips No. 1494] and (Hammer and Sickle) – are on display at the “My Name is Red” exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Sopot,
The aim of the exhibition is to explore the extraordinary power of the influence the colour red through number of Polish works of art that feature this characteristic shade. Several dozen pieces – both realist and abstract – created at different times over the past century, with the use of different techniques, styles, and painting conventions are displayed across the two floors of the gallery. Apart from pieces by Andrzej Wróblewski, works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tadeusz Brzozowski, Stanisław Fijałkowski, Jerzy Nowosielski, Kajetan Sosnowski and others are presented. The exhibition has been curated by Bogusław Deptuła.
National Gallery of Art in Sopot, Plac Zdrojowy 2
Exhibition open from 28.09 to 12.01.2020, Tuesday-Sunday 11-19
On the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw presents an exhibition entitled “Never Again. Art against War and Fascism in the 20th and 21st centuries.” Among the artworks displayed at the exhibition there are also two pieces by Andrzej Wróblewski: Mother, Antifascist and Attention, Here It Comes!
The exhibition, held as part of the Antifascist Year., focuses on three historical moments: the 1930s, communism in Poland and the elevation of anti-fascism and pacifism to its banners, as well as the contemporary approaches to fascism, taking into account the crisis within the European Union. The exhibition identifies iconic images and key aspects of anti-fascist traditions in all these historical moments. Apart from Wróblewski, works by artists such as Maja Berezowska, Alice Neel, Alina Szapocznikow, Erna Rosenstein, Marek Oberländer, Wojciech Fangor, as well as contemporary artists such as Jonathan Horowitz, Goshka Macuga and Mario Lombardo are presented.
Exhibition curators: Sebastian Cichocki, Joanna Mytkowska, Łukasz Ronduda, Aleksandra Urbańska.
Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 22
Exhibition open from 30.08 to 17.11.2019, Tuesday-Friday 12-20, Saturday 11-20, Sunday 11-18
This is how Andrzej Wajda wrote about Execution VI / Execution with a Gestapo Man:
“This painting by Andrzej Wróblewski has decided the course my life. When I saw it, I knew that what I would have liked to paint has already been painted and that I would never be able to paint it better than that.”
The National Museum in Kraków has hosted a vast multimedia exhibition devoted to the life and work of the director. The exhibition, Wajda, is based on numerous artefacts left by the artist: screenplays, sketches, drawings, notes made during the creative process, props and costumes, scenery designs, and documentation.
Thanks to such magnificent collection of materials, visitors have the opportunity to better understand the work of Andrzej Wajda. The exhibition opens with Andrzej Wróblewski’s Execution VI / Execution with a Gestapo Man, because the painter’s work had a huge impact on the director. Wajda was the originator of the first exhibition of Wróblewski’s works in 1956.
National Museum in Kraków, Al. 3 Maja 1, 30-062 Kraków
6 April – 8 September 2019, Tuesday-Friday 9-17, Saturday 10-18, Sunday 10-16
“In January 1948, a twenty-one year old with several dozen works and participation in two student exhibitions wrote: ‘Every single painter and scholar in Kraków is a husband + ringleader or [party] secretary + lounge lizard + father of the house and head of the family + professional + artist. While my ambition is to be: an old bachelor + artist […]’”
This is Andrzej Wróblewski (b. 1927, Vilnius–d. 1957, Tatra Mountains) – comrade, citizen, communist, candidate for the Party, assistant at the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, decorated with the Medal of the 10th Anniversary of People’s Poland. Art historian and critic, temporarily a socialist realist. Husband and father. – writes Magdalena Ziółkowska in an essay accompanying the artist’s profile appearing on Małopolska’s Virtual Museums (WMM) website.
Małopolska’s Virtual Museums (WMM) (www.muzea.malopolska.pl) is a service that makes available over a thousand digitised exhibits from forty museums in Małopolska. These include 3D and 2D images of artworks, as well as texts, audio recordings, and special audio-description recordings for the blind and visually impaired. WMM is a unique initiative, making available numerous resources from multiple Polish museums online in one place.
Today marks the 62nd anniversary of Andrzej Wróblewski’s death (b. 1927, Vilnius–d. 1957, Tatra Mountains).
This is Andrzej Wróblewski (b. 1927, Vilnius–d. 1957, Tatra Mountains) – comrade, citizen, communist, candidate for the Party, assistant at the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, decorated with the Medal of the 10th Anniversary of People’s Poland. Art historian and critic, temporarily a socialist realist. Husband and father. His expressive “inner self-governance”, based on a certain discipline of thinking and perception, rejected mediocrity, ordinariness, and compromises that reduced the artist to a “functional automaton.”