The opening of the exhibition Years of Disarray in Olomouc

Agata Wąsowska-Pawlik – director of the ICC, Łukasz Galusek – deputy director for pro-gramme policy, Anna Śliwa – head of the ICC exhibition department, Dr Monika Rydiger – curator, and likewise representatives of the Polish government, led by the Polish Ambassador to the Czech Republic Barbara Ćwioro – are attending the opening of the exhibition Years of Disarray: Art of the Avant-garde in Central Europe 1908-1928.

It is the culmination of several years of cooperation between four institutions: the ICC – winner of the Visegrad prize in 2006; the Bratislava City Gallery (Slovakia) and the Janus Pannonius Museum in Pécs (Hungary). Following its run in Olomouc, the exhibition will move to the ICC Gallery, where it can be visited from 5 March to 9 June 2019.

The exhibition focuses on the changes that occurred in Central-European art under the influence of geopolitical and ideological shifts, which were the effect of the trauma of the First World War and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Works of Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian, Austrian and German avant-garde artists will be shown, highlighting significant themes and artistic concepts, as well as both kinships and differences which emerged at that time in the states of Central Europe that had recently gained, or indeed regained independence. Directly after the Kraków show, further editions of the exhibition will be held in Bratislava and Pécs. The project will draw to a close in 2020.

The exhibition Years of Disarray: Art of the Avant-garde in Central Europe 1908-1928 is indeed the fourth ICC cultural venture that has been prepared with the Olomouc Museum of Art. Cooperation with the aforementioned institution dates back to 2001, when the ICC Gallery hosted the exhibition Between Tradition and Experimentation: Czech Art of 1939-1989 from the Collections of the Olomouc Museum of Art. In 2010, the ICC also held the exhibition House for an Art Lover: The Arts in Bohemia and Moravia, while in 2014 the gallery hosted Masters of Dreams: Symbolism in the Bohemian Lands 1880-1914.

The current project will show works that were created in a time span that begins ten years before Poland regained its independence. Thus, it recalls a body of work from difficult yet fruitful times. On one hand, they are the years of the birth of the avant-garde, yet also those of the search for a national style. The project provides a unique opportunity to illuminate the works of the Polish avant-garde within the context of those of neighbouring nations.

The project Years of Disarray… received a grant from the EU’s Creative Europe programme, which partially covered the costs of a monumental, richly-illustrated book, that will be published in English and Czech, containing essays by outstanding academics. The grant has likewise funded a two-year educational programme for secondary school pupils and their teachers.

The project is co-financed by the International Visegrad Fund.
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