22 Jan 2017


New publication of Małgorzata Malwina Niespodziewana documenting her open oeuvre about Katarzyna Kobro. "Story About Katarzyna".
Małgorzata Malwina Niespodziewana
Historia o Katarzynie / Story about Katarzyna
Publication in Polish and English
Texts: Małgorzata Czyńska, Marta Anna Raczek-Karcz, Richard Noyce, Patrycja Cembrzyńska
Published by The Pedagogical University of Krakow, Krakow 2016
In cooperation with Manière Noire
44 pages
ISBN: 978-83-8084-032-4
"In Poland, the popularity of Katarzyna Kobro is more based on her life than the meaning of her art", says Professor Janusz Zagrodzki, the author of the first monograph on the sculptress. Popularity, in the case of Katarzyna Kobro is too big a word. Her biography, except for a few strong episodes, including a physically abusive husband, poverty and disease at the end of her life, sculptures chopped for firewood, is not well known. These episodes are also known only to a few. Admittedly, the avant-garde researchers were doing their best to create the most comprehensive, credible account of the artist’s life. And still some facts and speculations require verification. Full of white spots and ambiguity, this biography is rather an attractive outline of a colourful story. The heroine is a radical sculptress, promoter of the most modern solutions in art. Next to her there are other modernizers, such as the Russians, including Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexander Archipenko, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexander Rodchenko. Among Poles there were Mieczyslaw Szczuka, Teresa Żarnower, Helena and Simon Syrkusow, Bohdan Lachert, Henry Stażewski, Julian Przyboś, Jan Brzękowski. And, of course, the beloved man, then her husband, Wladyslaw Strzemiński. Witkacy and Titus Czyżewski appear a bit here and there. The setting is Hanseatic Riga, Moscow of the Revolution period, Smolensk during the Polish – Bolshevik war, and then the much less sensational Vilnius, Szczekociny, Brzeziny, Żakowice, Koluszki and Łódź.
When it comes to art, the works of Katarzyna Kobro is well researched and documented, well known and appreciated in the world, and exhibited permanently in the Museum of Art in Łódź. Artistic achievements of Katarzyna Kobro preserved to our day are scarce; the Art Museum has seven gypsum nudes, ten spatial compositions as well as five reconstructed suspended constructions, abstract sculptures and spatial sculptures. Then there is one picture painted on glass as well as two seascapes. Among less important things, of more sentimental than artistic meaning, there are several small-format landscapes drawn with coloured pencils and a portrait of her daughter done in pencil.
Malwina Niespodziewana works on a few surviving photographs and a book entitled "Love, Art and Hatred" by Nika Strzemińska, the daughter of Katarzyna Kobro and Strzemiński, and she creates a credible story about the life of the artist. Added to this is knowledge of art and the Modernist thought, articles written by Kobro and Strzemiński and their book, "Spatial Composition. Calculation of Spatiotemporal Rhythm". From the cycles of works Katarzyna and Nika 1936-1951, Katarzyna 1898-1936, Dresses, Portraits and The Black Box K - S emerges a personal story of the sculptress, told in a broader context of the history of the avant-garde.

Excerpt from the text Life in pictures. Paper sketches, sculpture prototypes, by Małgorzata Czyńska