Tomaszewski’s ‘Historia’ (occasional notes on posters)

Solidarityprinter

In Eastern Europe before 1989, the state held a near-monopoly on all forms of public expression. Censors wielding red pencils checked every message that went into print. Fearful of the spread of free opinion, the authorities controlled the use of even the most basic office printing equipment. In Ceausescu’s Romania all typewriters, for instance, had … Continue reading

Zamecznik’s Silent Star (occasional notes on posters)

FSSV

In many science fiction films of the Cold War period the cosmos is represented as an extra-terrestrial space in which international rivalries have been overcome. ‘Der Schweigende Stern’ (The Silent Star) depicted a world in which communism had swept the planet and mankind now enjoyed the benefits of nuclear technology, social equality and international fraternity. … Continue reading

Modernizacje 1918-1939. Czas przyszły dokonany – review

309.obraz do artykułu

This review was commissioned by the European Architectural History Network in 2010. ♦ Like a number of other exhibitions on modernist art and architecture, Modernizacje 1918-1939. Czas przyszły dokonany (Modernizations 1918-1939: Future Perfect) at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź opened with images of a society in revolutionary turmoil. In this case it was not Soviet … Continue reading

The Photographer in the Hall of Mirrors

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This is an extract of an long essay on the work of photographer Nicolas Grospierre. It will appear in a book surveying his practice that will be published in 2013. ♦ … Unlike painters or sculptors, architects do not work directly on their creations. They rely on drawing and occasionally model-making to act as a … Continue reading

Paper Architecture: The Columbaria of Brodsky and Utkin

Columbarium-Habitabile-Brodsky-Utkin.-1989.-Shinkenchiku-Competition-DHAUS-BLOG

 This essay appeared in the catalogue for the Postmodernism. Style and Subversion 1970-90 Exhibition at the V&A Museum in London in 2011. ♦ Architects in the Soviet Union experienced a strange premonition of postmodernism fifty years before its domination of the architectural scene in the West. The monumental classical style known as Socialist Realism which … Continue reading

Seeing Japan, Imagining Poland: Polish Art and the Russo-Japanese War

Józef Mehoffer, “Europa Jubilans,” oil painting, 1905 (courtesy of the Lviv Painting Gallery).

This piece was first published in 2008 ♦ On first inspection it seems unlikely that the interests of Polish artists and writers in Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century – the theme of this essay – could anything more than the subject of a minor footnote in the history of either country. Living … Continue reading

The Dark Side of the Modern Home

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This is an extract of an essay published in Sparke, Massey, Keeble and Martin, eds., Designing the Modern Interior (Berg, 2009) ♦ The modern home is, conventionally, bathed in the light of order. Adolf Loos’s vision of a ‘New Zion’ stripped of its nostalgic ornament; Le Corbusier’s ‘fenêtre en longeur'; and Pierre Koenig’s glass curtain walls … Continue reading

Dan Perjovschi: The Power of the Margins

SONY DSC

The international art world ‘discovered’ Dan Perjovschi in 1999 when his drawings were displayed in the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.[1] Under the title ‘rEST’, he covered the floor with cartoons and slogans in thick marker-pen reflecting on life in Eastern-Central Europe since the overthrow of communist rule 10 years earlier. Over time, his … Continue reading

Sounding the Body Electric, Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź – June to August 2012

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Agata Pyzik’s review of the show from the August edition of The Wire is here. Polish readers might find these on-line reviews interesting – Gazeta Wyborcza / culture.pl / Obieg / Canti Illuminati / Czas Kultury / Dwu Tygodnik / Ruch Muzyczny There is a transcript of a discussion about the show here. Teresa Gleadowe … Continue reading

Chance Operations – an extract from Dźwięki elektrycznego ciała

Installation shot

This is an extract from Dźwięki elektrycznego ciała, an exhibition catalogue accompanying this show at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland. There is a review in Polish here and another from the August edition of The Wire here. ♦ John Cage’s advocacy of indeterminacy and Fluxus’s interests in events were matched by new conceptualizations of … Continue reading

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