Years of Disarray. Art of the Avant-Garde in Central Europe 1908-1928

8 March 2019 - 9 June 2019

Years of Disarray. Art of the Avant-Garde in Central Europe 1908-1928

Place International Cultural Centre, Rynek Główny 25, 31-008 Kraków, POLAND
Organizer International Cultural Centre in Krakow in cooperation with Olomouc Museum, Bratislava City Gallery, Janus Pannonius Museum in Pécs, Arbor vitae societas
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After the end of the Great War in 1918 Central Europe became a place where avant-garde ideas, founded or implemented earlier, were developed with great intensity. While the older generation of artists continued their earlier experiments after the war, younger artists came to treat Cubism, Expressionism, and Futurism as petrified and exhausted formulas, instead shifting their attention to Constructivism and abstraction. The rapid revival of modern art came with the focus on “the city and the machine” and with the fascination with urban civilisation. Central European artists often developed new trends in art. Of particular significance were movements such as Hungarian Activism, Polish Formism, or Czech Poetism, which marked the Central European avant-garde’s major contributions to global art.

Years of Disarray juxtaposes and confronts Central European artists – Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian, Croatian, and Serbian – for whom great artistic centres such as Paris, Berlin, and New York remained important points of reference, but who used impulses and inspirations derived from there to creatively rework them, without feeling inferior due to their peripheral or belated position.

This rich and varied exhibition features more than 170 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints by artists such as Anton Jasusch, Bohumil Kubišta, František Foltýn, Géza Schiller, Josef Čapek, Katarzyna Kobro, Leon Chwistek, Max Oppenheimer, Rafał Malczewski, Sandor Bortnyik, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Tadeusz Makowski, Teresa Żarnowerówna, Tytus Czyżewski, and Władysław Strzemiński.

One of the exhibition’s highlights is a great selection of unique avant-garde art magazines, publications, posters, folders, film scripts, and photographs that demonstrate their makers’ experiments and efforts towards developing innovative typography and image-making techniques.

The exhibition, which first opened at the Olomouc Museum of Art in September 2018, concludes a several-year-long international research project titled The Birth of a Modern Central European, realised jointly from 2016 onwards by four partner institutions: the Olomouc Museum of Art, Bratislava City Gallery, Janus Pannonius Museum in Pecs, and the International Cultural Centre, which developed a new version of the exhibition for its Krakow audience.

Supervision: Agata Wąsowska-Pawlik, Łukasz Galusek
Authors of the exhibition: Lenka Bydžovská, Karel Srp
Professional cooperation: Steffen Eigl (Berlin), Erwin Kessler (Bucharest), Zsófia Kiss-Szemán (Bratislava), Monika Rydiger (Krakow), György Varkonyi (Pécs), Irina Subotić (Belgrade), Patrick Werkner (Vienna)
Curator of the Polish rerun: Monika Rydiger
Curator cooperation: Anežka Šimková, Šárka Belšíková (Olomouc)
Curatorial consultation of the Polish edition: Zsófia Kiss-Szemán (Bratislava), Tünde Pusztai (Pécs), György Varkonyi (Pécs)