Sculptor creates Swinging London in Poland

Published: 22 June 2007 at 14:23

Douglas Jeal, Senior Lecturer in Sculpture at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge School of Art returned recently from Poland, attending the opening of an exhibition displaying his work alongside British contemporaries including Bridget Riley and John Hoyland celebrating London in the swinging sixties. Swinging London opened in May at Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz, Poland and offers a unique snapshot of a young art generation.

The Museum is well known all over the world, mainly for it’s highly esteemed International Collection of Modern Art. Initiated in 1929 by a group of artists, led by Władysław Strzemiński, and Katarzyna Kobro, they had the idea of creating an international collection of most recent art. They managed to gain the support of such renowned artists as Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Georges Vantongerloo, Louis Marcoussis, Kurt Schwitters and others. On 15 February 1931 the collection was shown for the first time and represented - as no other contemporary European collection had done - the main movements of avant-garde art, from Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism, through Purism and Surrealism, to Neo-Plasticism and Surrealism. The collection has grown with donations from Strzeminski, Kobro, Joseph Beuys and more recently Mateusz Grabowski.

Gallery owner, Mateusz Grabowski bequethed an outstanding collection of over 230 works to the Muzeum Sztuki from which Swinging London is curated. A Polish art-lover acting in London, Grabowski founded Grabowski Gallery and presented and promoted mostly art of British artists of the young generation, often associated with pop-art and various trends of the geometric abstraction (like op-art). The young artists were often graduates from St Martin’s School of Art or the Royal Collage of Art and were sometimes the first individual expositions of those artists. Openings would attract the ‘entire artistic London.’

Grabowski also gathered a private collection of artworks, which among with Jeal’s work were works of Bridget Riley, Derek Boshier, Pauline Boty, Frank Bowling, Michael Kidner, Jan Lebenstein, Jeffrey Steel – artists that are now considered significant British creators of that time.

Encapsulating a generation, Swinging London is divided into three key collections celebrating abstract, pop and optical art. The exhibition shows work from artists including Bridget Riley, John Hoyland, Joe Tilson and Derek Boshier.

Swinging London is at Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz until 19 August.