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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 5, 2008
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Art of Attitude
March 5, 2008 By M.H.    
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The National Museum in Wrocław, southwestern Poland, is staging a retrospective exhibition of works by Konrad Jarodzki, an outstanding artist and professor at the local Academy of Fine Arts, to mark his 80th birthday. The exhibition features around 150 works, including early ones from the Heads Torn Apart series and paintings inspired by the World Trade Center tragedy.

The artist, born in 1927, took the title for his exhibition-Here It Comes-from one of his earlier works, a triptych (work divided into three sections) painted in 1976. The title reveals a common feature of Jarodzki's art-a sense of anxiety and feeling threatened, which is present in many of his works.

"The title exemplifies all the threats that may come," said Jarodzki. "The situation of man with its whole store of positive and negative issues, like the conquest of space, the threat of nuclear disaster, and environmental threats, has to inspire us to take an open attitude, express concern and create new worlds also in art."

Heads Torn Apart, Jarodzki's first series, which he began in 1963, is inspired by memories of World War II. He chose the head as his artistic motif. The paintings are graphic in style, with flat patches of uniform color or contrasting colors. The patches form a simple structure arranged along vertical and horizontal lines. The rhythmic arrangement is sometimes livened up by curved lines, which divide larger patches into several smaller parts. Over the following years, the head motif changed-first evolving into geometrical forms and then into irregular shapes. This brought Jarodzki close to organic art as he now focused on the problems of disintegration, degeneration and destruction. You can see constant movement in his paintings-strong structures break up and their parts become integrated into new arrangements.

A year that marked a turning point for Jarodzki as an artist was 1971, when he took part in a painting workshop in Turów, southwestern Poland. The sight of the industrial landscape with huge open-pit mines influenced his work, forcing him to reflect on the destruction inflicted by man on the natural environment.

In the 1970s, Jarodzki preferred cold colors. Gray, blue and white shades gave his paintings a mysterious and sometimes ominous appearance. In the late 1970s, he widened his palette and increasingly used warm colors, like red, pink, brown and yellow.

National Museum in Wrocław, 5 Powstańców Warszawy Sq., through March 24.
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