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Multiplicity in unity. Intaglio techniques in Poland after 1900

The exposition is a reference to the exhibition and scientific session Multitudes in unity. Polish wood engraving art after 1900 organised in the Bydgoszcz Museum in 2009. Due to the cooperation with SMTG in Kraków, in the coming years we plan to continue our cycle of exhibitions, showcasing the basic types of graphic art techniques, which appeared in the history of printmaking after letterpress and intaglio print, that is planographic print, as well as digital techniques and multimedia graphics.

The exhibition Multitudes in unity. Polish intaglio printing techniques after 1900 will present the history of one of the classic printmaking techniques – intaglio. The exposition will feature a collection of over 200 graphic boards by prominent artists, for whom intaglio printing has been and still remains the main form of artistic expressions in terms of the technique used. Traditional techniques in metal, both engraving (copperplate, mezzotint, drypoint) and pickling (etching, aquatint, soft varnish, sugar aquatint), will be complemented by intaglio techniques on unconventional surfaces (fluor etchings, oilskingraving and current unconventional methods). Among this multitude of individual techniques, there will be works done in mixed and original techniques.
Groups of prints, covering selected problems will present the most important phenomena in the history and contemporary practice of intaglio print, such as the beginning of teaching metal techniques in the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, the development of this graphic art discipline among Warsaw artists, the significance of the 1st Henryk Grohman Graphic Arts Contest in Zakopane in 1911, and the richness of printmaking experiments taking place during the Interwar period in the prominent artistic communities in Kraków and Warsaw, and in the developing communities in Lviv and Vilnius.

The exposition will highlight the post-war continuation of a search for new techniques in intaglio printmaking, but most of all the groundbreaking works of print masters of the 1960’s and 70’s. The development of intaglio print techniques in the last decades will be presented on the basis of a review of works by artists creating in different artistic communities, showing their inspiration by traditional print (return to the small format and “pure” technique), as well as individual printmaking experiences.
An impressive collection of such diverse prints will illustrate the changes that occurred in traditional metal techniques and related techniques, both in terms of printmaking issues, as well as formal and stylistic, and iconographic issues. The “multitudes” present in the title of the exhibition will consist of such works as the subtle drypoint prints by Józef Pankiewicz, deep etchings by Jan Rubczak, multi-colourful aquatints by Wanda Komorowska, monochromatic aquatints by Zofia Stankiewicz, and Józef Mehoffer’s soft varnish prints resembling sketches. A similar multitude of the use of technical possibilities – differing in form and themes – will be presented in Mieczysław Wejman’s etchings “painted” by light and shade, the texturally vibrating surfaces of Halina Chrostowska’s boards (mixed metal techniques), Włodzimierz Kostkowski’s mezzotints filled with light, the brilliantly cut copperplates by Krzysztof Skórczewski, toned down coloured aquatints by Barbara Narębska-Dębska, and large format boards by Henryk Ożog, expressive in form and colour (drypoint with mezzotint). Different textural effects will be exemplified by prints created as a result of experiments with die, such as the boards of Krzysztof Tomalski and Marcin Surzycki, or shown in prints combining radically different printmaking techniques, for example intaglio with digital print, such as the works of Andrzej Węcławski and Mateusz Dąbrowski. Interference with space may be observed in cut at the outline forms of Grzegorz Hańderek (intaglio), while the multiplication of patterns, showing the richness of printmaking solutions, are presented in the boards of Stanisław Wejman (colourful etching with aquatint). Test prints, coloured versions and dies used in selected techniques will reveal some of the mysteries of printmaking.

The exhibition – the first thematic presentation dedicated to intaglio printmaking in Poland – will undoubtedly provide a fresh look at the subject of printmaking techniques, and a current attempt to present a synthesis of the Polish printmakers’ artistic achievements.
The exposition will include works on loan from the collections of the National Museum in Kraków, the National Museum in Poznań, the National Museum in Warsaw, the National Museum in Wrocław, the District Museum in Toruń, the Ossolineum in Wrocław, the University of Warsaw Library, the National Library of Poland in Warsaw, the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków, and the University Library in Toruń (The Archives of Polish Emigration and Special Collections). The presentation will be complemented by the collections of the District Museum in Bydgoszcz, and the newest works – boards provided by graphic artists from the most important graphic art communities centred around artistic universities.

During the exhibition a scientific session will be organised dedicated to the subject of intaglio printmaking in Poland, aiming to enrich the subject matter presented on the exhibition (18th-19th October 2012).

Barbara Chojnacka




Designed: Jimpenny / Programmed: FreshData