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Roman Opalka, OPALKA 1965/1-infinity
Four prominent Polish artists, with partial support from the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, are represented in the exhibition: Stanislaw Drozdz, with his reconstructed room installation Between, from 1977; Wojciech Fangor, with an oil on canvas; Jaroslaw Kozlowski, with an artist's book; and Roman Opalka with OPALKA 1965/1-infinity. Stanislaw Drozdz, who represented Poland at the 50th-Anniversary Venice Biennale in 2003 with his installation Alea Iacta Est / The Dice Have Been Cast, re-creates Between, his 1977 installation at the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw. Drozdz, an illustrious artist and an animator of the Concretist movement in Poland, is a poet, an artist focussing on word and space, and a creator of concrete poetry. He treats his poetic/graphic art work as an analysis of the reality of language, especially of its visual forms.

Drozdz's Between is one of the largest and most important works in the exhibition. Visual poetry is a leitmotif that moves through Beyond Geometry, appearing in books or broadsides in vitrines in different sections of the exhibition. Drozdz's room-sized installation is visual poetry writ large. In it the letters comprised in the Polish word for "between", "among", or "amongst" - "miedzy" - cover walls, ceiling, and floor in a systematic pattern. When viewers enter the space they become the embodiment of the meaning of the word that surrounds them. With this work, a Post-War Polish artist makes visual poetry experiential on a new, intensified level. In the context of the exhibition, the work synthesizes the efforts of artists from three different continents.

Stanislaw Drozdz (b. 1939) studied Polish language and literature at Wroclaw University, graduating in 1964. At the turn of 1967/68, he began to produce concrete poetry. He has focused throughout his career on the graphic possibilities for the visualization of language, simultaneously searching for the reasons why it remains incapable of expressing reality. The artist has also made it his mission to document achievements in the realm of concrete poetry. He is the creator of pojecioksztalty / concept-shapes - a type of concrete poetry included within the broader context of visual poetry, which draws on elements of mathematics and logic. In 1979 he edited and published a book titled Concrete Poetry - A Selection of Polish Texts And Documentation 1967-1977. He produces large spatial compositions, placing printed texts, symbols and numbers on gallery walls, floors and ceilings. These effectively become complex interpretations of the written sign and evoke various associations. Since the beginning of his career, Drozdz has been working with the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw. He has exhibited in the gallery's space on many occasions, and the project he realized there in 1977, titled Miedzy / Between, remains one of his most renowned. The works of Stanislaw Drozdz often show words within space (miedzy [between or amongst], przez [through], w [in]), as well as graphic compositions of letters on a plane, organizing the space around themselves (miedzy, kolo [circle]).

Concrete poetry is a current of experimental poetry directed towards a radical evolution of language. The adjective "concrete" is to indicate a type of poetic text that constitutes an instance of self-communication, deprived of external references - a system of self-signifiers; in other words, a concrete "fact". Such poetry is situated on the borderline between visual arts (using, in the first place, signs - in the visual sphere), music (sounds as used in sonic poetry/concrete music), and literature (using the Word - deprived, however, of any external references). The sources of concrete poetry are to be found in the output of the Dadaist movement, but conscious experimention in this direction, as determined by definitions of the movement, began in the 1950's in Europe (Eugen Gomringer, the harbinger of the trend) and South America (brothers Augusto and Horaldo de Campos - members of the Brazilian "Noihandres" group).

Wojciech Fangor (b. Warsaw, 1922), creator of the first-ever environment in Poland, A Study of Space, 1958, remains the only Polish artist to have had a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1970). His output has been both plentiful and highly varied, encompassing painting, the creation of environments, as well as the design of architectural and urban projects, scenery, and posters. Since the 1950s, Fangor has been interested in form and color, the functioning of paintings in space, as well as the effect of art on viewers. His painterly installations confront viewers, surrounding and engrossing them. He emigrated to the United States in 1966 and returned to Poland in 1999. The 2003 reconstruction of his environment from 1958 at CCA Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw was designed to remind audiences and critics of one of the most important and most radical artistic utterances ever to be made about modern painting.

Jaroslaw Kozlowski (b. Srem, Poland), is one of the most important representatives of the conceptual movement in Polish art. The artist creates installations, drawings, and objects, and also does performances. In his oeuvre, he consequently treats art as a territory of critical and self-critical analysis. In the series Mythologies of Art, in the 1980's, he aimed at the deconstruction of myths built around the notion of art, the status of the artist, and artistic institutions. In his next series, Realities of Art, the artist, in an ironic mode, fought the expectations of art audiences. Kozlowski's series are a consequence of his comparison of the creative process to a process of thinking, in which one question gives life to another, and in the end of this chain appears a new problem, which serves as a point of departure for a new series of works.

Since 1967, Kozlowski taught drawing and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. He founded Akumulatory 2 Gallery in Poznan, where he lives. He was included in the exhibition Rhetorical Image at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (1990).

Roman Opalka was born in Hocquincourt, France, in 1931 but has lived in France, Poland - where he graduated form Warsaw's Academy of Fine Arts in 1956 - Berlin, and New York. In 1965 he moved away from figurative painting in search of a way to represent the irreversibility of time. His solution became a life-long project of painting numbers, photographing his face after each painting session, and adding sound and text to those elements for his installation on time, collectively entitled OPALKA 1965/1-infinity. Everyday of his working life he recites sequences of numbers in Polish into a microphone as he paints them onto a canvas. And each day, he snaps a self-portrait. The pose is always a frontal shot, face only. On Day 1 in this process - back in 1965 - Opalka painted a "1" in the upper left corner of a canvas. Working in rows, moving from left to right, he has painted numbers in sequence until the canvas is full. Then comes another painting, and another. They are one big unfinished work that has one inevitable conclusion. The enterprise is an obsessive metaphor for life and death and Opalka thinks of himself as a painter of time. The implications of the process are inseparable from his palette: each canvas is identical in size, but the background becomes 1% whiter each time. There is a ritual quality, which is embodied by his reliance on white and its connotations of purity. The four items he has in the Beyond Geometry exhibition are elements from this life-long work, which is represented in many of the world's major museums (e.g. MoMA, Guggenheim, Pompidou).

The artist's record of exhibitions is genuinely global. He represented Poland at the 46th Venice Biennale (1995), and took part in the 19th Biennale de Sao Paulo (1987) and in Documenta VI in Cassel (1977).

To mention a few of his major solo shows: Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA; Grant Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA (2002); Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, Poland; Galeria Foksal, Warsaw, Poland; Espace Renn, Paris, France; Museum of Architecture, Wroclaw, Poland (2001); Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, Japan (1998); Galerie I.S.M., Séoul, South Korea; Starmach Gallery, Krakow, Poland; CCA Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw, Poland (1996); Muzeum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary; Polish Pavilion, 46th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (1995); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany; Zacheta, Warsaw, Poland (1994); Museum Moderner Kunst im Museum des 20 Jahrhunderts, Vienna, Austria (1993); Galeria Foksal, Warsaw, Poland; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (1992); Mala Galerija, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia (1991); John Weber Gallery, New York, NY (1989, 1986, 1983, 1982, 1979, 1977, 1975, 1974); Centre Culturel de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1988); 19th Biennale de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil (1987); La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Rice Museum, Houston, TX (1980); Minneapolis Institute of Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN (1979); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium (1976); Galeria Krzysztofory, Kraków, Poland (1974); William Weston Gallery, London, England (1972)

Opalka was featured in numerous important group exhibitions such as: In Between: Art From Poland 1945-2000, Cultural Center, Chicago, IL (2002); Europeana, permanent installation in the Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, Poland; reconstructed in different spaces in the Gent Museum, Gent, Belgium (2001); Global Conceptualism: Points Of Origins 1950s-1980s, Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL (1999); Made In France: 1947-1997, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (1997); Horizons 14: Polish Contemporary Artists Today, Sonje Museum, Kyongiu, Séoul, Korea; Photographie Contemporaine Dans Les Collections Nationales, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (1996); Inauguration du Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (1994); Machine Per La Pace - Machine For Peace, XLV Venice Biennale, ex-Yugoslavian pavilion, Venice, Italy (1993); Manifeste I, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (1992); Strategies For The Last Painting, Feigen Gallery, Chicago, IL (1991); 19th Biennale De Sao Paulo, Sao Paolo, Brazil; Fifty Years of Collecting: An Anniversary Selection, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Fondation, New York, NY (1987); L'Art Et Le Temps, Barbican Center, London, England (1986); Présences Polonaises, L'Art Vivant Autour du Musée de Lodz, Georges Pompidou, Paris. France (1983); Documenta VI, Cassel, Germany (1977).

Polish works in the exhibition:

Drozdz, Stanislaw (Poland, born 1939)
Between, 1977
Installation. Foksal Gallery, Warszawa. Letters for the Polish word miedzy/between painted on the floor, ceiling and walls of the room; dims of room: 10.6627 x 17.2244 x 22.9659 ft. (325 x 525 x 700 cm)

Fangor, Wojciech (Poland, born 1922)
M 15 1968, 1968
Oil on canvas; 56 x 56 in. (142.2 x 142.2 cm)

Kozlowski, Jaroslaw (Poland, born 1945)
"He Has a Cigarette in His Mouth" in Lesson, 1972
Book. Unpaginated; open: 8 1/2 x 12 3/4 in. (21.59 x 32.385 cm)

Opalka, Roman (France, active Poland, born 1931):

OPALKA 1965/1-infinity
, Detail 3578634-3595782, 1965-?
Acrylic on canvas; 77.2 x 53.1 in. (196 x 135 cm)

OPALKA 1965/1-infinity, Detail 1006398, 1965-?
Black and white photograph; 12 x 9 1/2 in. (30.48 x 24.13 cm)

OPALKA 1965/1-infinity, Detail 5163823, 1965-?
Black and white photograph; 12 x 9 1/2 in. (30.48 x 24.13 cm)

OPALKA 1965/1-infinity, 1965-?
Sound recording on a CD. (with CD player); approx.: 5 x 16 x 16 in. (12.7 x 40.64 x 40.64 cm)
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