About Gallery

The SD Gallery promotes Polish contemporary art both in Poland and abroad, for it participated, for instance, in the 2002 Artexpo International Art Fair in New York. What is the kind of art that it offers? Before answering this question, let us ask a more general one: what is the kind of those galleries, starting from the avant-grade ones inviting intellectual fun formulating a commentary to the everyday life, to those which exhibit more or less representative art based on solid realistic workshop and addressed to the beholder whose artistic education is rooted in museum art. The SD Gallery oscillates towards the latter. It is true that in either of the two categories one might find both outstanding and less outstanding works. However, let us not focus on the axiology, but try to analyse why the latter of the two major categories has had so much continous success among gallery goers. Several reasons account for this.

    
SD Gallery - Galeria Mokotów

One of them may be the fact that a part of the most recent art has alienated itself, creating its own hermetic language of artistic expression. It may be so that this language is fully comprehensible only to the critics specializing in this art. The critics in their turn while describing art use an even more hermetic language illegible to an ordinary beholder. And thus, while trying to clarify the sphere of the most recent art, they actually make it more obscure. The beholder prefers to experience representative art using forms derived from the real world, from a common experience. And be they realistic landscapes of Alojzy Balcerzak, or surrealistic Baroque landscapes filled with an astral wind of Jan Sumiga, catastrophic visions of Zdzisław Beksiński or lerical blue-eyed pierrots and angels from Krystyna Brzechwa's paintings. What actually matters is the fact that when watching these paintings the beholder can refer to his or her own experience. even the most stylised and distorted figures , even the most visionary and transformed landscapes still refer to the real experience of nature common to both the artist and the beholder. And it is difficult to understand those who complain that such paintings are most willingly purchased, for this kind of an attitude also derives from the fact that reception of art is in a natural way a dialogue, a kind of conversation of the beholder and the artist carried out by means of art, this conversation being also that of the beholder with him- or herself, with a past event, with a recalled emotion, a retained shape of colour, a dream... This dialogue carried out in the domain of pure abstraction uses the kind of language that does not have any solid framework nor does it have a codified "dictionary". What requires from the beholder is a solid background and exceptional sensitivity. And it can be assumed that on this level the dialogue is held first of all among the artists themeselves.

    
SD Gallery - Panorama

When analysing the reception of the newest art one should also focus on its relation to the artistic tradition. Exhibition catalogues and discussions on art carried out in the media are frequently interlaced with a grandiloquent word: "discourse". The "discourse" is to testify to the continous dialogue of the newest art with the artistic tradition, with the art of the past centuries, also proving this dialogue to be fruitful and creative. Yet, these declarations are actually questionated by numerous accomplishments of respect for the partner. In the previous centuries an artistic discourse of the artists representing different epochs, and even distinct cultures, inevitably began with a true wonder over the relicts of the Antique, the Romantics marvelled at the facade of the Gothic cathedrels, the Impressionists and Gauguin showed their admiration for the Japanese ukiyo-e woodcuts, whereas the English Pre-Raphaelites and the Polish artists from the Pruszków circle were enchanted with the paintings by Boticelli and Giotto. What dominated that relation was humbleness and enchantment, whereas even the best intentions would not allow us to see such an attitude in the adding of mustache to the Virgin. However, the art presented at the SD Gallery does reveal such a dialogue. Jan Lebenstein's works reflect the shadow of the grat demonologists: Goya, Schulz and Witkacy. Jerzy Nowosielski's painting is rooted in the metaphysical world of the icon, in the timeless golden backgrounds, decorative silhouettes of the saints, sacral silence. Contemporary art lovers, just like the mentioned artists, are immersed in the cultural tradition and just like the artists, recall the cliches of the paintings seen before.

    
SD Gallery - Wilanów

Yet, the discussed convention hides some traps: of stylistic imitations, incapacity to go beyond the source of inspiration, of empty aestheticising. But all the artists can be trapped by such tendencies regardless of their painting style. What matters most is to be able to find among this multicolour mosaic something that appeals to us personally, a work with which one could hold not so much a scholarly discourse, as a very intimate conversation.

Łukasz Kossowski
Galeria SD, designed by Michał Piecuch, 2004