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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » October 29, 2010
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Experimenting With Form
October 29, 2010   
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The Museum of Sculpture at the Królikarnia Palace is staging an overview of work by Xawery Dunikowski (1875-1964), one of Poland’s greatest sculptors. The exhibition is supplemented by a display of work by Dunikowski’s students.

The exhibition opens with Dunikowski’s early works, produced when he was fascinated by modernist philosophy, such as the sculptures “Fatum” (Fate), “Tchnienie” (Breath) and “Macierzyństwo” (Motherhood), which explore questions of human existence, existential dilemmas and the mystery of birth and death. The massive, expressive human-like shapes created by Dunikowski had no precedent in Polish art. The next exhibition room at the Królikarnia houses religious-themed works such as “Madonna” and “Zwiastowanie” (The Annunciation).

The Parisian period (1914-1921) in Dunikowski’s career is exemplified by the sculptures “Polka ” (Polish Woman), “Francuzka” (French Woman), “Amerykanka” (American Woman). The exhibition closes with works Dunikowski produced after World War II when, inspired by lofty socialist ideals, he turned to designing and building socialist monuments, such as the Monument of the Insurgents on the ¦w. Anny Mountain near Opole and the Monument of the Liberation of Warmia and Mazuria in Olsztyn.

Dunikowski was also a painter and several of his paintings are on show at the Królikarnia Palace, including “Self-Portrait,” the series “Baby Nieborowskie” (Old Women of Nieborów), “Portret córki Marii Xawery” (A Portrait of Daughter Maria Xawera), still lifes and abstract paintings.

On the second floor, the Królikarnia Palace is showing works by Dunikowski’s students, whose individual styles were never overwhelmed by the personality of their teacher. On the contrary, Dunikowski encouraged his students to experiment and be brave in their creative pursuits. The exhibition illustrates the diverse results of such pursuits, from figurative plaster casts by Janina Broniewska to organic forms by Jadwiga Janus and Barbara Zbrożyna to abstract compositions by Alina ¦lesińska and Tadeusz Koper.

Some of the most remarkable items include a composition which Tadeusz Sieklucki made of nails, and soft textile forms by Maria Pinińska-Bere¶, underscored by feminist irony. A large part of the exhibition is occupied by the work of Jerzy Bere¶—large, plain structures of unprocessed wood that form series entitled “Zwidy” (Hallucinations) and “Ołtarze” (Altars). Bere¶ used them as props in his performance art projects.


Open through Dec. 15
W kręgu Mistrza Xawerego.

Dunikowski i uczniowie. Pokaz z kolekcji (Xawery and His Circle. Dunikowski and Students. Exhibition From Collection)

Królikarnia Palace, part of the National Museum, 113a Puławska St., tel. 22 843-15-86, www.krolikarnia.mnw.art.pl
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