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Teresa Murak, Objects I - III (lady's smock, resin) 1975/76, Art from Poland, Mucsarnok,Budapest, Hungary, 1997
abshire-debecki studio and gallery, Chicago
and FORUM + GALLERY from Wroclaw, Poland
present an exhibition

curated by Gosia Koscielak - Poland/USA and Elzbieta Koscielak - Poland

Saturday, September 20, 2003 - Monday, October 20, 2003
Opening reception: Sat., Sept. 20, 5 - 9 PM

Additional events:

Thur., Sept. 25, 2003, 6 PM
The Americanization of Polish Poetry: Milosz, Herbert, Szymborska
Lecture by Prof. Clare Cavanaugh, Northwestern University, Evanston

Thur., Oct. 9, 2003, 6 PM
Remaining Relevant after Communism? Artists and Society in Eastern Europe since 1989 Lecture by Prof. Andrew Baruch Wachtel
Northwestern University, Evanston

abshire-debecki studio and gallery
1507 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL

The exhibition Conceptual Connections presents artists from four Central European countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia. When it comes to art, the connections between those countries are much stronger than even the artists themselves may realize. The most important characteristic shared by all of them is their analytical attitude towards art, the creative process, the art object, the function of art in society, and the place and role of the artist in the structure of culture. Its philosophical sources and inspiration rooted in the 20th-century avant-garde, their art focuses on the human being's participation in the dramatic cultural changes of our civilization: e.g., the human being and the drama of existence (B. Biskupska); the human being as subject to the realms of nature and culture (Z. Rytka, T. Murak); as a simultaneously active and passive participant in civilization's changes, and the unpredictable fate of both the individual and the community (G. Koscielak); but the human being also as both architect and observer of those changes (Matasova, Haas); and, finally, as a provocateur, an originator, and a victim of culture (Vuk Cosic).

Although the artists we present come from the geographical center of Europe, it is a region characteristic of the historic diversity - cultural, social and political - of Europe as a whole. Furthermore, the second half of the 20th century brought to that region the experience of communism, somewhat different in each country, yet everywhere felt as a painful ideological and political experiment. But closed borders and censorship afforded exceptional power to artistic messages. It was perhaps the sense of "living absurd" that attracted artists to abstract and later to conceptual art (somewhere between 1968-1972), which allowed the artist to "smuggle in" the contesting irony, the ridicule, and the caricature of bureaucracy. The constant tension between the official and the underground shaped culture, art, architecture, urban space, and semantic space as well.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the new turn of the century have again brought radical changes to this part of the world. The collapse of communism and the process of democratization are now combined with intense globalization and the determination of Western Europe to integrate Central Europe within the European Union. All these - further combined with technological developments in the new media and the interculturalism of cyberspace - create a fascinating cultural context for the new artistic activities of Central Europe - a new space built upon the foundations of Old World history and tradition.

It may seem paradoxical that a forum for artists from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia should take place in the United States. But with a more common socio-cultural space evolving along with globalism, it is definitely the sign of a new form of coexistence in the third millennium.

FORUM + Gallery is an organization dedicated to promoting cultural exchange between the US and Central European countries. It strengthens understanding and visibility for emerging and established artists by curating and presenting exhibits and performances. It distributes documentary and educational information through catalogues and videos that transmit history and culture. It is a catalyst for the exchange of ideas in an intercultural context.

Wroclaw 54-004

ul. Kacka 31

Tel./Fax. (+71) 349-1543



P.O. Box 6034

Wilmette, IL 60091

Tel. 847.920.1860

Fax. 847.920.1861



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