This gallery explores essential phenomena in the post-war history of Polish art and highlights selected aspects of artistic life at the time: their richness, diversity and the co-occurrence of various phenomena. Partially following chronological order, particular sequences of the show cover leading artistic trends linked with national tradition and European modernity.
Located at the junction with the Gallery of Polish Art 1800– 1945, the gallery presents Polish post-war artworks receptive to trends essential to Western European art, including those of Alfred Lenica, Zdzisław Stanek and Tadeusz Kantor. The ensuing sections of the exhibition explore mainly stylistic, ideological and aesthetic themes representative of various artistic periods and communities. On show are also artworks representative of geometric abstraction, a trend that comes from a deep conviction that the structure of reality can be fathomed intellectually. Standing in opposition to the intellectual geometric abstraction is a deeply subjective kind of art, with visual poetics oscillating around imaginative art, marked by surreal and magical forms. The gallery highlights the diverse use of metaphors: from poetic and surreal paintings by Kazimierz Mikulski to the sophisticated and ‘iconic’ compositions of Jerzy Nowosielski, and to the vanitas paintings by Zdzisław Beksiński.
Another important body of artworks are those that return to figurative art, e.g. the symbolic and narrative-based paintings by Grupa Wprost artists Eugeniusz Markowski and Edward Dwurnik, as well as Gruppa of Warsaw.
The final sequence of this exhibition closes the gallery space with a clash between traditional and conceptual art, focused mainly on the figure of artist and the creative process themselves, thus assigning mainly conceptual objectives to the work of art and marginalizing its widely-conceived aesthetic aspect.