Stazewski

biography

Stazewski

HENRIK STAZEWSKI was born in Warsaw (Poland) in 1894. In 1920 he finished studying painting at the School of Fine Arts of Warsaw and paid his first visit to Paris. At the exhibition of Art Nouveau at Wilno in 1923 he showed paintings which reflected synthetic cubism and unism. In 1924 he became a founder member of the "BLOK" group and magazine. This period saw the definition of the conception of the artistic object, no longer in the sense of an interpretative reflection of nature but as an independent object rightfully belonging, but on particular terms, to the universe of objects. In 1926, after the dissolution of the BLOK group, he joined the "Praesens" group, formed by architects and painters for purposes of collaboration. In fact he concerned himself with architecture and designed interiors in the spirit of De Stijl. In 1927 he took part in the "Machine Age" exhibition in New York. In Paris he met Mondrian and Michel Seuphor. He became a member of the "Cercle et Carre" group and, in 1931, of "Abstraction-Creation." Leaving the Polish group" Praesens," he founded, together with some Polish poets, the "a.r." group. His works in the 1930s reveal a clear relationship with the neo-plastic movement. At a theoretical level he sought the origins of the contemporary artistic consciousness in the sociological and scientific ideal, which he tried to express through an economy of forms and their arithmetic relationships. After 1934 Stazewski concentrated on functional typography and interior design, both in the neo-plastic style. During the Second World War he stopped painting and a large part of his earlier works was destroyed by fire. The exhibition of his abstract reliefs in 1955 was the first avant-garde manifestation since 1949. Between 1958 and 1963 he produced a series of white reliefs in which, by means of geometry, he materialized the principles of order and the aleatory character of movement and of space. In 1965-1967 he produced bright metal reliefs. He also designed two large spatial constructions, one at Elbag in 1965, for the Biennial of Spatial Forms, the other at Lodz, in 1981. Starting in 1967 he painted a series of works consisting in compositions of colored squares, forms which enable him to enlarge the surface to the point of suggesting an unlimited possible development. Since 1967 he has concentrated on painting and graphic work, the central theme being the square. After 1974 he produced a series of works in white with black lines based on a dominant theme of order and casualty. His theoretical writings, more numerous in old age, often touch on the themes of freedom, of anarchy, of the purifying and animating role of the artist in society. In 1972 he was awarded the J. M. Herder prize. He played a meritorious part in promoting the foundation of the Museum of Modern Art at Lodz, made possible by his international relationships with the leading figures of the constructive avant-garde movements.

exhibitions