Wozownia Art Gallery has been around since 1950. In the years 1950-1961, the Gallery operated as the official representation of CBWA from Bydgoszcz (Central Bureau of Art Exhibitions) in ToruÅ, later, as the delegacy for ToruÅ of the Bureau of Art Exhibitions in Bydgoszcz (1962-1975). As of January 1st, 1976 the Gallery became the Bureau of Art Exhibitions in ToruÅ with its independent charter. The institutionâs name was changed in 1992 to the National Art Gallery âWozowniaâ. Its current statute and name, Wozownia Art Gallery in ToruÅ, have been in force since 2009.
Until 1957, the Gallery shared its headquarters with ZPAP (The Association of Polish Artists and Designers) in Dom Plastyka (Artistâs Home), later in âthe Artus Courtâ by the Old Town Square, and since 1975, in the newly-built pavilion at ul. Ducha Åw. 8/10 (exterior design: Jan Tajchman; interior design: Henryk Sobczyk). At present, the gallery is located in aÂ historic building (the old Prussian artillery coach house) in the oldest part of ToruÅ, by the Holy Spirit Gate, near the Old Town City Hall, Copernicus House and the Leaning Tower.
Between 1961-1968, the Gallery was directed by Teresa Frankiewicz; 1968-91 â Marianna Olechnicka; 1991-95 â Ziemowit MichaÅowski; 1996-98 â Zofia KarpiÅska. The current director of the Wozownia Art Gallery, since 21st December 1998, is Anna Jackowska, a graduate of Art History at Adam Mickiewicz University in PoznaÅ (she received her degree in 1985) – she took office after winning the competition for the post (beforehand, between 1987 and 1996, she worked at Wozownia as a curator).
Not much of the documentation from the early expositions has survived till today. Although it is known that all ToruÅ-based artists presented their works (this was the tradition and obligation at the time) as part of individual or group exhibitions (including anniversary displays of StanisÅaw Borysowski for his celebration of 30 and 40 years of artistic activity, or Barbara NarÄbska-DÄbska for her 25th anniversary of work in art), also expositions of artists and artistic groups from other centers were organized: for instance, in 1959 an exhibition of the Cracovian Group was arranged (including Jonasz Stern, Maria Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Jarema, Kazimierz Mikulski among others).
Â The Gallery hosted solo shows of such artists as: Jerzy Pank (1958), Jan Szancenbach (1960), JÃ³zef Gielniak (1961), Eugeniusz Markowski (1962), Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz (1966), Leszek RÃ³zga (1967, 1971), Konrad Srzednicki (1971), and in the year of 1973 alone, one could admire the works of Jan Dobkowski, Zbylut Grzywacz, Jerzy Nowosielski, BronisÅaw Chromy.
A magnificent and memorable exhibition of WÅadysÅaw Hasior took place in 1977, as did the exposition of JÃ³zef Szajnaâs stage designs. The presentations were remembered due to enormous participation rates.
Solo shows of artists from abroad were rather infrequent. If they did happen, these were usually less famous artists, although in 1968, the Gallery displayed paintings by Marek Å»uÅawski from London. Moreover, through cooperation with councils, embassies and British Council we were able to show, for instance, contemporary British stage designs (1981) and an exhibition entitled âThe 1970s: New American Paintingâ (1980), which was shown in ToruÅ first and then only at the National Museum in Warsaw.
As for the individual exhibitions in the period between 1976-1995 one should mention, among others, the display of Stasys EidrigeviÄius – the career beginnings of this now-celebrated artist span over the expositions at the Gallery. Also, artists from Cracov, such as: Jerzy Nowosielski, Kazimierz Mikulski, Jan Szancenbach, StanisÅaw RodziÅski, but also graphics by Ryszard Gieryszewski, JÃ³zef Gielniak, Leszek RÃ³zga, the paintings of Ryszard Winiarski, Edward Dwurnik, Marian Czapla, the works of Jan Berdyszak, StaÅ¼ewski; photographs by Edward Hartwig; sculptures of BronisÅaw Chromy and Ewa Olszewska-Borysâs medals; Eugeniusz Molskiâs ceramic; glass art by Henryk Albin Tomaszewski, textile art by Jolanta Owidzka.
In the 1990âs there were unforgettable exhibitions, namely, the display of PaweÅ FrÄ czkiewiczâs installations at Place Rapackiego in 1993, as well as, presentations of deceased artists, who worked in France, i.e. Roman CieÅlewicz and PaweÅ Jocz, organized in theÂ same year.
Amid the prominent figures of the contemporary art world that Wozownia has been exhibiting for the last couple of years, apart from the regular events, and as part of large-scale and significant solo shows, one could come across: Jan Berdyszak, Natalia LL, Heinz Cibulka, Ewa Blum-Kwiatkowska, Ewa Harabasz, Marcin Berdyszak, Izabella Gustowska, Aleksandra Ska. Lately, the Gallery has also managed to recycle people of great importance for the Polish art history, for example, Artur Nacht-Samborski, Lucjan Mianowski, Wojciech Bruszewski or Henryk Tomaszewski.
Regularly hosted events:
The First Polish Exhibition of Medallic Art entitled âThe Child Theme in Medallic Artâ was organized in 1979 and curated by Piotr Gawron. Its second edition – âTo Peaceâ – took place in 1984, and the consequent editions: the third (1988) and the fourth (1991) came under the name âTrends and Creatorsâ, their curators being Ewa Olszewska-Borys and Teresa DudziÅska respectively. The best of Polish medallists participated in the events, artists such as: BronisÅaw Chromy, Krystian Jarnuszkiewicz, Zofia Demkowska, JÃ³zef Markiewicz, Krzysztof Szczepan Nitsch, StanisÅaw Sikora, StanisÅaw PlÄskowski, Adolf Ryszka; as well as authors from ToruÅ: Joanna Bebarska, CzesÅawa Gucz, Iwona Langowska, Ryszard Mirowski, and Ewelina Szczech-Siwicka among others.
The International Graphic Triennial âColor in Graphic Art”â the event is meant to present the output of prominent graphic designers (the artists receive named invitations from the Gallery) from all over the world, in whose works color is of crucial importance. The first four editions of the triennial (1982, â85, â88 and â91) gathered artists from across Poland. Its first international edition, in 1994, (curated by Jerzy Grabowski) was accompanied by an exhibition entitled â22 Protagonists – Trends of Concrete Art in Color Graphics of Our Centuryâ. The latest editions of âColor in â¦â have been made more specific by the organizers (since color is no longer a unique attribute of any artistic practice): the participants are to answer the question concerning the status of graphic design ‘here and now’, in other words, whether the relation between tradition and identity has made the exhibitions more interesting not only for the fans of graphic techniques, but also for a broader spectrum of recipients. Selected works from the subsequent editions of the triennial were twice on display at The Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art in Greece. Wozownia is the only Polish gallery to regularly present color graphics at international thematic shows.
A slightly younger regular event, thet Triennial of Small-Size PaintingÂ (its first editions, between 1988-2007, were organized biannually), has received a lot of sympathy from both the artists and recipients. The single constraint applied here is the format of the works, thus, every 3 years at Wozownia, one can admire presentations of various trends in contemporary painting. The small scale allows displaying a greater number of works, which implies greater diversity in artistic attitudes than in the context of traditional review exhibitions of contemporary painting. Moreover, the small format calls for more focused and intimate reception – a feature particularly valued by the participants. The event is supervised by Teresa DudziÅska.
The youngest of the regular events is PERSONY (PERSONAS), organized together with the Poster and Design Gallery in PoznaÅ. It is a cycle of exhibitions that present prominent international figures from the world of design: individuals, who influence our visual habitat. During Personas, Wozownia hosted such artists as Hans Hillmann from Germany, Ostvan Orosz from Hungary, Koichi Sato from Japan as well as the American duo Nancy Skolos & Thomas Wedel.
Dedicated to the youngest artists, Wozownia created at its premises the Art Lab project: an example of a gallery within a gallery. Its formula consists of organizing a number of solo shows under one common slogan. Once a given cycle is finished, we publish a catalog presenting the confrontation between the works in the context of the initial problem posed.
The project is executed at Wozownia in a small room of unusual spatial characteristics. Hence many of the pieces created here were site-specific and they dealt with, on the side of both the artists and the curators, the relationship between the work of art and its location. MaÅgorzata Jankowska was the author of the first edition. Currently, i.e. since 2009, the project is managed by Maria Niemyjska.
Since the Galleryâs launch, it has been organizing meetings with authors, art workshops for children and teenagers, contests, plebiscites. Forms of educational activities encompass:
Tournament in the knowledge of art, between 1976-81
Lectures in art history (in the years 1993-â95 delivered by Ryszard Depta; and before him: Janusz Bogucki, BoÅ¼ena Kowalska, Danuta WrÃ³blewska, BogusÅaw Mansfeld among others)
En plein air sessions and other similar activities – street shows of âToruÅâs Visual Artsâ in 1978 and 1979; painting workshops âImage and Metaphorâ in GÃ³rzno (curated by Jan PrÄgowski)
Auctions of contemporary artworks – the first such event in ToruÅ was an auction of artworks on November 19, 1989 for the Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowieckiâs Fund of Supporting Social and Economic Initiatives
Publishing house – posters, catalogs (at times also albums), portfolios
After the year 2000, the list has extended significantly at different levels and in different forms of interacting with art. What is meant here are various workshops, meetings, lectures and promoting events organized by the Gallery.
PresentAKCJE / PresentACTIONS (video art, multimedia art, performances, experimental films), between 2000 – 2006 managed by MaÅgorzata Jankowska; comprised of various events such as lectures by Ryszard KluszczyÅski, Piotr Krajewski; multimedia presentations by Piotr Wyrzykowski, Dominik Lejman, Alicja Å»ebrowska; 2005 – Åukasz Ronduda â Polish Assembly Flims, One Day for Performances in 2005 (SÄdzia GÅÃ³wny / Main Jury – Aleksandra Kubiak, Karolina Wiktor;Â DziewczÄta Przeszanowne / Respectable GirlsÂ â Marcelina Gunia, Karolina Stepniowksa, Natalia TurczyÅska; Anna Gryczka, Angelika Fojtuch, 2006, among other, Cause&Effect – an interactive film spectacle (Chris Hales, premiere in Poland); PÄ sowa RÃ³Å¼a / Crimson Rose of MaÅgorzata Jankowska – films by Polish and German artists (Alicja Å»ebrowska, Ania Baumgart, Artur Å»mijewski among others), screening of Azorro Groupâs films â a meeting with Oskar Dawicki, Igor Krenz and Wojciech Niedzielko).
âArchitecture at Wozowniaâ – a series of lectures on topics in contemporary architecture – originated and lead by Teresa DudziÅska. The main aim of the project was, and still is, to show and familiarize the audience with the most interesting issues in contemporary architecture. The lectures are meant for all who find interest in architecture, want to understand its foundations and various trends, learn to perceive it better and to notice that architecture can be interpreted at many levels. Prominent architects, architecture critics and art historians are invited to take part in âArchitecture at Wozowniaâ. The range of topics embraces both the theory, as well as the practice of architecture, showing its diversity and complexity. The organizers hosted such names as Hubert Trammer, Grzegorz PiÄ tek, Szymon Kubiak, Roman Rutkowski.
âArt Seeks Simplicityâ (launched in 2012) a cycle of workshops for children and teenagers accompanied by meetings at exhibitions. The aim of the project is to introduce the main tenets of contemporary art to the participants via active, creative actions. The cycle is to stimulate in the youth the ability to think synthetically and conceptually, and to make them aware that to develop their own works, they do not necessarily need numerous and various artistic tools. All of the events take place at the premises of the Wozownia Art Gallery and their contents reflect the theme of the exhibition currently at display. Kamila Krzanik-Dworanowska and Kazimierz NapiÃ³rkowski manage the events.
âA Project for â¦â (since 2014) is the youngest of the projects and it was conceived by Kamila Krzanik-Dworanowska. The plan involves meetings devoted to issues in contemporary design, understood as more than just approaches to external aesthetics of objects. We wish to draw the attention to the fact that design is a much broader discipline, present in our lives on a daily basis. We shall make an attempt to present the relation between design, art and commerce, as well as to discuss the social role of a designer. The greatest value of contemporary design is its ability to solve problems. Meetings with theoreticians and practitioners of design will bring the process of designing closer to the recipients from particular groups of interest. Two lectures took place in 2014: in June, we hosted CzesaÅawa Frejlich, and in November, Magda Kochanowska – a researcher and theoretician of design.
wystawa Wladyslawa Hasiora 1977
Other lectures and meetings Â with prominent figures of Polish humanities, usually supplemented by promotion of latest publications – for instance, a meeting with Rene Block: Art, Life & Confusion (Marta SmoliÅska), Ewa Toniak âOn a Few Masochistic Fantasies and Masculinityâ. Other events included âAround Anna Baumgartâs âWarriorââ; Krzysztof Jurecki âIn Search of the Sense of Photographyâ; Agata Jakubowska ââMultiple Portraitâ by Alina Szapocznikowâ; Luiza Nader âConceptualism in Polish Peopleâs Republicâ; a discussion on Monika Bakkeâs book âBio-Transfigurationsâ with professors Andrzej Turowski, Piotr Piotrowski (âAgorafiliaâ), Ewa DomaÅska. âThe Art and Aesthetics of Posthumanismâ or âFilm as Artâ by Marta KosiÅska; meetings with artists who trigger changes in todayâs art, as, for instance, the meeting with Honorata Martin and Åukasz Surowiec. .
The nature of the Gallery has been changing along with the changes in art and in the functioning of an art institution, as well as in the organization of life – not only cultural life, but also social life in general. The history of art has gone in such a direction that the gallery, from being a place of art presentation, has become a place of art creation.
At present, Wozownia displays works of famous artists, yet it mostly a place for exhibiting young talents. This is why the Gallery in ToruÅ has such a unique status among the Polish art institutions. It does not consolidate a once-established hierarchy: it reaches beyond any fixed, closed group of artists by constantly searching for young authors. Thus, it focuses on promotion and experimentation.