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Artist talk: Grzegorz Kowalski. Ruta de la Amistad, Mexico, 1968. The history of certain utopia

Public program for the exhibition The Other Trans-Atlantic
4 May 2018
19:30–21:00

DESCRIPTION

Renowned Polish artist Grzegorz Kowalski will give a talk about the history of the utopian sculptural project Ruta de la Amistad in which he took part in 1968.

The theme of the lecture is a reminder of the meeting of sculptors in the city of Mexico on the occasion of the 19th Olympiad in 1968. The meeting of sculptors was part of the year-long Cultural Olympics organized with a great impetus by the Mexican government. The initiator of the meeting of sculptors and the implementation of the Road of Friendship project was an artist and architect Mathias Goeritz (born in 1915 in Gdańsk, died in Mexico in 1990). Goeritz's idea was the setting of twenty-two monumental sculptures along the newly formed southern bypass of the city of Mexico.

The Road of Friendship was of propaganda importance because it gathered artists from different continents: from Europe to Asia and from both Americas to Australia. The sculptors were invited to build their monumental pieces (from five to twenty-six meters high) made in painted concrete. The Road of Friendship was undoubtedly an organizational and artistic success. The sculptures met with approval from the international press. With time, however, their degradation occurred due to the chaotic development of the city and even the questioning of property rights to the area on which they were set.

The lecture will be illustrated with photographs of the artist taken during the process of making the sculptures and press materials from the period of their degradation and re-setting in a common location.

ABOUT THE LECTURER

Grzegorz Kowalski (b. 1942) is a sculptor, performer, installation artist, art critic, and pedagogue. He received his art education in the studios of Oskar Hansen and Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz in the Sculpture Department of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. This experience had a longstanding effect on how his artistic practice developed and his later approach to teaching methods. He integrated the visual alphabet of Hansen with a practice rooted in Jarnuszkiewicz’s focus on process and individual experience. From the moment he joined the legendary Repassage Gallery, Kowalski began to focus on participatory actions, which he documented in photographs. He created his own didactic program for his students, which was known as Common Space. Personal Space.

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HOW TO TAKE PART

Free admission with advance registration.

The lecture will be held in Polish with interpreting into Russian.

REGISTRATION

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