Sektion 11: Gastsektion Polen
Piotr Juszkiewicz, Posen

The Long Persistence of Modernism. Concepts of Artistic Form in the Postwar Polish Art Criticism (1948–1965)

Post-war Polish art criticism sustained fundamental elements of modernist concepts of artistic form, which artists and theoreticians put up around two quintessential modernist postulates: 1. an artist should take part in general revitalization movement, 2. the value of artistic form depends on its ability to bring off or to stand for a social change and in particular to contribute to creation of the New Man.

The paper presents several concepts of artistic form, which appeared in the postwar Polish artistic and critical discourses as reactions to these modernist imperatives. The presentation includes in chronological order several models of artistic form, which were worked out in a few Polish artistic milieus. The paper starts from the concept of the “realistic metaphor” distinctive of the late 1940s and 1950s, which was to have the potential to reveal the higher truth of marxist palingenesis. The following models shows how Polish art critics tried to shift the evaluation criteria of artistic quality from the form and the content of the work of art to the creative subject as the dominant factor of the creative process and consequently to shift the transcendent meaning of a work of art from history to anthropology.

In the end of the 1950s and in the 1960s, the new model of artistic form dominated Polish critical discourse in which the historical as well as the subjective dimension of the work was placed in the domain of an artistic medium understood as the universal resource of material artistic solutions, that came in to being in the past and which is diachronically accessible to the artists. This model of artistic form functioned mainly as a way to define the essence of particular kind of art and its boundaries. In the same time, Polish artists and critics expressed the sense of the crisis of models of the artistic form of the past and tried to overcome it, calling for abandonment of the category of form at all in the favour of an unmediated message or intellectual experiment, again using modernist pattern: i.e. to seek the regenerative perspectives to rejuvenate, to revitalize art and its relationships with life.
Kurzbiografie Piotr Juszkiewicz
1995Promotion an der Adam-Mickiewicz-Universität Posen („Freedom and Metaphysics. On Artistic tradition of Marcel Duchamp’s Art“)
2006Habilitation an der Universität Posen („From the Bliss of Historiosophy to the ‘Game of Nothing’. Polish Art Criticism of the of the Post-Stalinist ‘Thaw’“)
2008(Visiting) Professor an der Hebräischen Universität von Jerusalem
2012(Visiting) Professor an der Estnischen Kunstakademie in Tallin
2018Professur an der Universität Posen
Forschungs- bzw. Arbeitsschwerpunkte Kunstgeschichte des 20. Jh.s; zeitgenössische Kunst; Kunstkritik im 18.–20. Jh.
  • Cień modernizmu [Der Schatten des Modernismus], Posen 2013.
  • Socialist Modernism, Socialist Structuralism. Mieczysław Porębski's Socialist Art, in: Kristina Jõekalda, Krista Kodres und Michaela Marek (Hgg.): A Socialist Realist History? Writing Art History in the Post-War Decades (Das östliche Europa: Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte 9), Köln 2019, S. 118–129.
  • Negerplastik Carla Einsteina (1915) i wystawy sztuki prymitywnej [Carl Einsteins Negerplastik (1915) und Ausstellungen über Primitive Kunst], in: Maria Poprzęcka (Hg.): Artysta/kurator, Warschau 2019, S. 147–158.
  • Granica modernizmu. Przypadek Augusta Cieszkowskiego i Wincentego Lutosławskiego [Die Grenze der Moderne. Der Fall von August Cieszkowski und Wincenty Lutosławski], in: E. Błotnicka-Mazur, A. Dzierżyc-Horniak und M. Howorus-Czajka (Hgg.): Paragone. Pasaże sztuk, Lublin 2020, S. 442–447.
  • (Hg. mit Burkhard Olschowsky und Jan Rydel) Central and Eastern Europe after the First World War (Schriften des Bundesinstituts für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im östlichen Europa 74), Oldenburg 2021.