Spaces of Interspaces (Hommage á Otto Freundlich) / GROUP EXHIBITION / SMALL GALLERY, CENTRE FOR CREATIVE ACTIVITIES
Spaces of Interspaces
(Hommage à Otto Freundlich)
Rudolf J. Kaltenbach
10.07 – 29.09.2019
Small Gallery / ul. Partyzantów 31a / Słupsk
Centre for Creative Activities / ul. Gen. Zaruskiego 1a / Ustka
Small Gallery /ul. Partyzantów 31a / Słupsk / 5 p.m.
Centre for Creative Activities /ul. Gen. Zaruskiego 1a / Ustka / 7.00 p.m.
(There is a change of a place and time due to technical issues)
09.07. 2019 / 5 p.m.
Słupsk Technology Incubator / ul. Portowa 13 in Słupsk (Auditorium)
dr Mieczysław Juda
dr hab. Elżbieta Kal
dr hab. Irma Kozina
dr Roman Lewandowski
dr Roman Nieczyporowski
Rudolf J. Kaltenbach
Spaces of Interspaces (Hommage á Otto Freundlich) is an artistic project devoted to Otto Freundlich – a renowned German painter, sculptor and theoretician of Jewish descent, who lived in Poland, Germany and France. It consists of an exhibition and academic conference that will coincide with the launch of a monograph on the life and work of this, one of the world’s pioneers of avant-garde and abstract art, which also sets his oeuvre in a broader context of present-day artistic practices. The project organizers attempt to find links between the aesthetic and conceptual leitmotifs in the work of the early 20th-century German artist and present-day Polish and German art. Influenced by early modernism, Otto Freundlich believed that art derives its content and potential from the combination of spiritual, organic and non-organic elements. It is the artist’s role to seek links and relations in this ontological triad. According to Freundlich, man is to make the invisible, or as he called it, the force of interspaces, visible. Moreover, man is charged with the task to sense and discover interspaces which – as he adds – are “doorless chambers of eternity”.
It was abstract art, with all its geometric and organic forms, that became the most adequate form of expression for Otto Freundlich . His creative activity coincided not only with an exceptional period in the history of the original avant-garde art, but also with some global events that changed the world irrevocably. The German painter, sculptor and theoretician of Jewish descent was born in 1878 in Słupsk, where he spent his early years. He only began to deal with art professionally when he was nearing his thirtieth birthday. At the time, he was travelling around Europe and pursuing his creative activity in such places as Paris, Berlin and Florence. Initially inspired by Cubism, Freundlich soon began to experiment with other trends, such as Orphism and Constructivism. His paintings from that period received great critical acclaim at an exhibition in Cologne. In his 1913 album Modern Painting, Guillaume Apollinaire, an eminent writer and co-founder of the original avant-garde movement, described Freundlich as one of the most outstanding German painters. At the time, his circle of his friends included Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Guillaume Apollinaire, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Alfred Döblin and Wassily Kandinsky. After Hitler took power, the artist was vilified by the Nazi propaganda, and his work appeared in 1937 at an exhibition of “degenerate art”. In that period, some of his work was destroyed or lost. During the war, Otto Freundlich fled to France, where in 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo and transported to the concentration camp in
Majdanek, where he died a few months later. During the Second World War, much of his oeuvre , which numbered almost 550 works, was lost irretrievably. A share of the surviving work has been presented in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, as well as at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne and Neue Pinakotek in Munich alongside the works of Piet Mondrian and Otto van Rees. The distinguished Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn devoted one of his famous monuments to him. It is worth emphasizing that one of the most important, albeit never completed, projects by Otto Freundlich projects was the so-called “European Roads of Sculptures”. The artist’s idea was to erect large monuments (up to 30 metres in height) along open roads that would stretch across Europe, and thus provide a symbolic bond among the different European states and nations. According to Freundlich’s concept, the sculptures were to be placed along two intersecting axes: north-south and west-east, with the “Lighthouse of Seven Arts” standing at the intersection. In the 1970s, the project was resumed by the Otto Freundlich European Road of Peace Association with its main office in St. Wendel, Germany. As a result, 53 sculptures had been created by 2007. One of them can be found in Słupsk.
The exhibition Spaces of Interspaces (Hommage á Otto Freundlich) aims to embrace Otto Freundlich’s concept of art seeking a symbolic bond among the spiritual, the inorganic and the organic, while providing an affirmation of egalitarian values of culture which is open to variety and diversity. Equally noteworthy is the fact that the artist was born Słupsk, where his family home has survived until the present day. Freundlich is unquestionably one of the forefathers of the cultural tradition of Europe, a fact which cannot be overestimated by the city or the region. The exhibition featuring works by contemporary artists is meant to articulate and exemplify the main thematic and aesthetic trends, which permeated the work of Otto Freundlich and other pioneers of avant-garde art.
The exhibition is also intended to inaugurate a series of artistic events related to the work of Otto Freundlich, which is set to adopt the formula of an open art biennale, starting from next year.
Organizers of projects:
The Marshal of the province of Pomerania Mieczysław Struk
The Mayor of the City of Słupsk Krystyna Danilecka-Wojewódzka
The Mayor of the Town of Ustka Jacek Graczyk
Staroste of Słupsk – Paweł Lisowski
Project co-financed by: