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A Work to be Entered
The Deutsche Bank Foundation Awards its Prize for Young Polish Art



Ever since it was completed in 1900, Warsaw’s Zacheta, a monumental white palace, has been serving as a forum for the support of contemporary Polish art. As a result, the magnificent Neo-Renaissance building in Warsaw’s city center proves to be the ideal site for the "Views 2005" show, which presents works by artists nominated for the Prize for Young Polish Art. The award, which is taking place for the second time this year, was called into being by Deutsche Bank.




Wilhelm Sasnal, Untitled, 2004
Deutsche Bank Collection

Pioneer work in Poland: with its Prize for Young Polish Art and the exhibition of the nominated artists in the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Deutsche Bank is supporting an emerging scene. Despite a dearth in artistic infrastructure at home – while a few new galleries have cropped up over the past several years, powerful collectors and sponsors have as yet to make an appearance – young Polish art has increasingly been attracting international attention.

Wilhelm Sasnal, Untitled, 2004
Deutsche Bank Collection


Piotr Uklanski and Pavel Althamer had their breakthroughs in the nineties, and the paintings of the shooting star Wilhelm Sasnal, who made it all the way to the Saatchi Collection, are commanding top prices. Moreover, many other artists from the "Views 2005" show have long since ceased to be names unknown outside Poland. The works of the nominated artists represent a wide array of positions; what connects them is their involvement with the rapidly growing everyday reality of their home country as well as the role art plays in their society.


Maciej Kurak, Parergon, 2005
Foto © Sebastian Madejski


Maciej Kurak’s interactive installation convinced the jury of the Prize for Young Polish Art, which included, among others, Ariane Grigoteit, Director of Deutsche Bank Art. At the festive award ceremony for the 10,000 Euro prize, he was praised for "introducing new quality to the manner in which space is perceived, experienced, and expressed in combination with original reflections on strategies of artistic display" – so the seven-member jury’s decision, which followed some heated discussion. The artist seemed surprised at receiving the award and was visibly moved. Kurak’s most important source of inspiration is architecture; his works are characterized by surprising, often humorous interventions into existing buildings or spaces that are exceptional due to their specific history. For Views 2005, the 33 year-old artist installed what seemed at first sight to be a totally ordinary post-war structure with pink plasterboard walls in the gallery rooms of the Zacheta. The interior, however – which could have stemmed from any ordinary furniture discount store – had been partially sawed apart. The artist, who lives in Posen, juxtaposed the petty-bourgeois coziness of the small room with the monumental halls of the historical exhibition building. An old picture frame serves as a window through which the exhibition visitor can enter Kurak’s environment and, for a moment, become the main protagonist of a living image. Parergon is the work’s title; the word means ornament or embellishment and also refers to Jacques Derrida’s book The Truth in Painting from 1978. Parergon is the title of his central chapter, which plays a seminal role in the art historical discourse concerning the frame.

Anna Orlikowska, Being, Video installation 2002
Foto © Sebastian Madejski


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