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

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 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

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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

‘Laughing at My Head’ – The ‘Immature’ Art of Neue Bieremiennost

Św.Wojciech by Mirosław Bałka

I was commissioned to write a piece about the early years of artist Mirosław Bałka and his colleagues when they sailed under the flag of ‘Neue Bieremiennost’. The piece appears in a book written and edited by Kasia Redzisz and Karol Sienkiewicz with the title Świadomość Neue Bieriemiennost (Fundacja Open Art Projects, Warsaw, 2012). ♦ … Continue reading

Two books on Polish graphic design …

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Against All Odds. Polish Graphic Design 1919-1949 (also published in Polish as Nie gęsi. Polskie projektowanie graficzne 1919–1949) by Piotr Rypson. (Karakter, Kraków, 2011) Projekt: The Polish journal of visual art and design (Unit 05) edited by Adrian Shaughnessy (with essays by Charlotte West and Edgar Bąk) (Unit Editions, London, 2011) The Polish Poster School of … Continue reading

Architecture and the Image of the Future in the People’s Republic of Poland

Wojewódzka Hala Widowiskowo-Sportowa (Regional Hall for Sports Events and Spectacles) in Katowice designed by Maciek Gintowt and Maciej Krasiński (1959-1972) photographed by the author in 2007.

The realm of freedom actually begins only where labour which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases … Karl Marx, Capital[1] What would communism look like? And what would its material form be? Ideologues in Eastern Europe after 1945 spent much time and energy persuading the citizens of the new people’s republics that this … Continue reading

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