Main characteristics of contemporary Polish art are the extreme versatility, and the sensitivity towards avant-garde trends. Although at the beginning of the 1950s, similarly to what happens in other socialist countries, the academic-naturalistic approach is also present in the art of Poland (W. Zakrzewski, W. Fangor, F. Sz. Kowarski, H. Krajewska, J. Krajewski), deriving from the erroneous interpretation of the theory of “socialist realism”, however the best of figurative painters do not completely detach themselves from the achievements of modern painting such as shows for example. the work of A. Wróblewski (1927-1957) and, in essence, it is the avant-garde addresses that set the tone.
It is practically impossible to group according to guidelines the more than six thousand Polish artists currently working, however some peculiar trends emerge. After 1945, for a time, he was a colorist address in painting, close to the spirit of the École de Paris, to bring together the greatest number of painters. Among the members of the older generation, colorism is still realized in the context of a naturalistic, figurative art: J. Cybis (1897-1972), W. Taranczewski (b.1903), C. Rzepinski (b.1905), Poland Potworowski. Since the 1950s, there are many painters who turn to abstract expressionism, a direction still very strong today: T. Brzozowski (b.1918), S. Gierowski (b.1925), T. Dominik (b.1928)), J. Tarasin (b.1926), R. Ziemski (b.1930), A. Marczynqski (b.1908), Poland Potworowski (1898-1962). The avant-garde tendencies essentially continue the double line which, between the two world wars, had polarized on the one hand to the severely constructivist “unism” of W. Strzemiński (1893-1952), and from another around the brilliantly multiple personality of SI Witkiewicz (1885-1939). The great figures of Polish constructivism, Strzemiński, H. Stażewski (born in 1894) and K. Kobro (1898-1950), worked for a short time after the war. The principles expressed by Strzemiński in his “theory of vision” (Widzenia theory, published posthumously in Krakow in 1958) still influence the new generation, but the surrealist-imaginative direction is gaining ever greater weight.
According to ehotelat, the formation of new avant-garde groups began at the beginning of the 1940s. In Krakow, the first artistic group is linked to the avant-garde theater, operating clandestinely during the German occupation, of T. Kantor (b. 1915), the most multifaceted figure of the Polish avant-garde; this group, after 1945, organizes exhibitions under the name of Grupa M łodych Plastyk ów (“Group of young artists”); members of the group, besides Kantor, are M. Jarema (1908-1958), K. Mikulski (b. 1918), T. Brzozowski (b. 1918), E. Rozensztajn. In Poznan, in 1947, J. Hauwalt, A. Lenica (b.1899) and FM Nowowiejski founded an artistic group baptized in 1949 4 F + r(shape, color, workmanship, fantasy + realism). Strzemiński’s theories particularly influence the ST 53 group of Katowice, while the Grupa 55 of Warsaw, whose founders are M. Bogusz (b.1920) and Z. Dłubak, and which organizes its exhibitions in the Krzywe Koło club, experiments to connect the architectural and the scenic arts.
Mikulski’s activity links imaginative-surrealistic tendencies to the movements preceding the Second World War. A characteristic of Polish surrealism is that it soon goes beyond the confines of painting. A. Lenica, who is the author of collages as well as paintings, and W. Borowczyk (b.1923) staged the surrealist film Dom, awarded at various festivals, in 1959, while T. Kantor and J. Szajna (b.1922) are both important painters and directors; their avant-garde theater exemplifies expressivist and surrealist directing and both belong to the basis of Polish avant-garde theater art. That the boundaries between the different branches of art are blurred is also evident from the fact that, in the 1960s, an increasing number of painters organized happenings, process-shows, emballages ; thus, for example, T. Kantor with Cricotage and Linie podzialu (“Subdivisions”), 1965; J. Bereś, 1967; A. Matuszewski, 1969; W. Borowski with Synthetic demonstration and antihappening, 1968. In 1961 W. Hasior organized an exhibition of assemblages. More and more artists are dealing with the problem of the environment, as demonstrated by various exhibitions and conferences, from the exhibition Przestrze ń i wyraz(“Space and expression”), organized in Zielona Góra in 1967 with the participation of artists such as S. Gierowski, B. Urbanowicz, R. Ziemski, M. Bogusz, M. Wiecek, S. Krygier, B. Kierzkowski, H. Morel, Poland Pereplyś and architects such as Zofia and Oskar Hansen, at the international conference organized in Warsaw in 1975 dedicated to “Environment and visual art”.
In sculpture, initially the tradition of classicism that prevailed between the two world wars continues. Among the avant-garde sculptors H. Wicíński did not live to see liberation, while K. Kobro and M. Jarema died shortly after this event. X. Dunikowski (died in 1964), who directed the realist style towards stylization and expressivism, also due to his important didactic activity had a great influence on the new generation. Characteristic of the first post-war monuments is the romantic, expressivist representation (N. Rappaport: Monument in memory of the fallen of the Warsaw ghetto). The schematism of the 1950s is concluded by the grandiose sculpture exhibition of 1961; from this date Polish sculpture has been influenced by the art of H. Moore, M. Marini and K. Armitage,
The new trends find space in exhibitions such as the “Biennial of spatial forms” set up in Eblag in 1965, in conferences and villages of artistic creation. Among the modern trends there is also non-figurative plastic, but there are relatively few important representatives of the pure plastic form (A. Starczewski, W. Surowieck, F. Habdas), just as kinetic art and sculpture have no significant representatives either. strictly constructivist. The abstract form is much more at the service of expressiveness, drawing inspiration from biological and organic forms (A. Szapocznikow, J. Jarnuszkiewicz). Plastic that is linked to popular tradition, a school of which the teacher and founder is A. Kenar (b.1906) of Zakopane, characteristic representative of A. Rzasa and most original representative J. Bereś (b. 1930), with works of symbolic value, which take their cue from the world of popular utensils. The art of W. Hasior (b. 1928) also starts from this address, who, absorbing the surrealist interpretation of the “object”, the idea ofassemblage of Pop art and the scenic solutions of the cultic ceremonies of popular religiosity, creates a dramatic, tragic art, full of sentiment of universal value and which, at the same time, has deep roots in the Polish tradition. Also noteworthy are the monuments of Hasior (Kuźnice, Czorsztyn). In the 1960s, the surrealist tendency also strengthened in sculpture, anthropomorphism became more characteristic. The boundaries between the various types of art are increasingly blurred and there is a rapprochement between plastic and architecture (A. Ślesińska). Even among the sculptors many become followers of the happening, situation art and conceptual trends. Neofiguration (A. Ryszko), expressivist realism (R. Wojciechowski, B. Chromy) have also been strengthened recently and also among the monuments there are several works with modern concepts (G. Zemła: monument to the uprising of ślask, Katowice 1967, monument to Broniewski, Płock 1972).
In contemporary Polish art, graphics and especially poster art (T. Gronowski, T. Trepkowski, H. Tomaszewski, H. Mroszczak) and applied graphics (R. Ciešlewicz) are of great importance. In the field of craftsmanship, the textile art has its most distinguished representative in M. Abakanowicz (b. 1930). Since the mid-sixties has had great importance also the design.