No 3 (87) 2011
July - September

The L-Und

The L-Und exposition, prepared by Wiktor Skok, a curator and a very conscious artist, will enter the latest art history as an example of a different outlook, realized in a hardcore costume.

Krzysztof Jurecki

B. in 1960. Art historian, AICA member. Lecturer at the Łódź Academy of Arts and Design.

Krzysztof Jurecki

IT ASSUMES A DISPARATE TYPE OF OPTICS of the application of the contemporary art language to be an independent artist responding to the Łódź spleen through a defined style of nonconformist music.

                The curator's assumption has been based on an approach to artistic creation as, first of all, independent creation, not fully defined vanguard tradition which definitely negates the current new vanguard of the 70's - 90's period; turned into new establishment through commercialization. The Łódź music scene had to develop its own artifacts in the form of posters, prints, letters, as well as graffiti, fanzines or photographs. A documentary photo of Piotrkowska Street (from the 80's/ 90's) depicting ordinary people going - one does not know where and what for - has been a prelude to the show. Further, one had an opportunity to see some photos of the concerts played as of 1989 till today, called Wunder Wave. These are to illustrate the thesis that this kind of music is exceptional. One should mention here photos by Robert Laska featuring portraits of punks from the end of the 80's and beginning of the 90's, and pieces borrowing from the surrealistic tradition (for example a graphic work by Roman Cieślewicz). This artistic trend, to be included later into the achievements by the official new vanguard, has been continued, among others, by Wspólnota Leeeżeć and Sławomir Belina. They have mimicked and scoffed at religion, as their main means of expression. Different type of primitive oriented irony has been applied by Marcin Pryt and Jacek Koza whose drawings are close to childish stylistics, intentionally made primitive in private Xerox publishing houses that used to operate independently.

                New trends in art are being recognized by means of new iconography that brings down old myths. These show up on records jackets, coats, shirts, stencil graffiti. This art has been definitely much more "applied" than the traditional media art, such as painting. It has grown in new locations and new postindustrial spaces considered "debris of the city".

                The most significant works showed on the exhibition present totalitarian symbols with new spirit. Numerous works by members of the Jude group, Phetrusand Andrzej Gagzza explored an ominous power of two totalitarian systems and their successors; for example the Polish state; occasionally combined with private life images. Works that attack current versions of fascism are very important, including the piece by Michał Arkusiński intentionally referring to the religious iconography and pop culture.

                Traces of former Łódź heritage and recent communist illusions have been significant for this ephemeral art. At this point one should mention extremely essential objects from the mid 80's by Ewa Bloom- Kwiatkowska, and the "new expression" painting by Sławomir Kosmynka - authors of the first, 1984-89 underground stage that initiated this new iconography focusing on the problems of totalitarian architecture and the swastika heritage that should not be censored. The system of processed symbolic totalitarian signs should serve to fight historic nazism and its present manifestations, as proved, particularly by Phetrus and the Jude group.

                Among numerous interesting works presented on the exhibition, one should mention the early 90's videos by Marcell Zamenhoff being an example of the fast edit casual aesthetics and youthful nonchalance, and The End of the World Is Close and Close Mandela by Wspólnota Leeeżeć who have already marked their place in the latest video history.

                The L-Und show has presented different side of the history of the Łódź underground which has more in common with expression and fantasy - permanently keeping in touch with urban reality and pop culture elements - than with the conceptualism and minimal art tradition. The exposition, with regard to a unique arrangement and accurate selection of works, will present a challenge to next exhibitions of this type, mounted both in Łódź, and in Poland.

                Thus, the L-Und has been yet another project by the Manhattan Gallery that brings back the memory about the latest history of the city's independent art.

The "L-Und. 1985 - 1995 Łódź Underground Scene. Obligatory Appendix", the Manhattan Gallery, Łódź, June - July 2011.