Strzemiński Academy of Art Łódź

A historical outline

The Strzemiński Academy of Art Łódź (ASP Łódź) was established in 1945 as the Łódź State Art School (PWSSP Łódź).

The school based on the achievements of the city’s pre-war avantgarde community with such excellent artists as Władysław Strzemiński, Stefan Wegner, Katarzyna Kobro, Karol Hiller or Samuel Szczekacz. This resulted in a unique character of the school, directly inspired by the artistic and didactic output of the Bauhaus movement and the didactic experience of Kasimir Malevich. Design practice was meant to be as important as the study of nature; a lot of attention was paid to development of visual perception conforming with the newest art trends. Władysław Strzemiński, an outstanding constructivist artist, theoretician and educator, organised the school from its very beginnings and deeply influenced the initial stage of its history. His innovative art and didactic ideas formed the character of the academy.

However, the totalitarian Stalinist regime installed in Poland after the war began to pursue a highly ideologised aesthetic program and did not tolerate Strzemiński’s avantgarde concepts any more – in 1950, the school was forced to dismiss the artist, who would die forgotten soon afterwards. Numerous experimental studios and faculties were closed and the school had to focus on cooperation with the textile industry only. It took many years and important political changes to re-establish the wide, universal range of education as envisaged by the founders of the school.

In recognition of Strzemiński’s merits the school assumed his name in 1988. In 1996, it was officially recognized as one of Poland’s seven state art academies. A new, modern headquarters for the school was erected in 1976 – its architecture soon is now one of the Academy's symbols and an important city landmark.

 

Strzeminski Academy of Art, Lodz


Strzeminski’s role in the development of the Academy

The influence exerted by Strzemiński on the academic and artistic community, despite the political decisions which tragically affected his life at that time, is, among the founders of the Academy, the most important; therefore, the State Art School assumed his name in 1987. Rarely does it happen that visual artists - even those outstanding ones - leave behind original artistic output accompanied by formulated theories and programmes, or published theoretical considerations.

Strzemiński’s writings were first published in the late 1950s - „Theory of Vision” was issued then. In the 1960s and 1970s the undefatigable propagator of Strzeminski’s art and ideas was Ryszard Stanisławski - Director of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. Thanks to his efforts the fundamental texts of the creator of unism were published in English and French. In 1975 „Writings” by Strzemiński were published - all his theoretical articles. Thus, Strzemiński’s output became widely known.

Research proves that Władysław Strzemiński’s original and outstanding creation and the new unique theoretical ideas has had a lasting and important place in the history of the 20th century art. As painter he is considered as one of the most original representatives of the constructivist movement. He is founder of the unist theory; the artist explored the phenomenon of after-image and “solarist” paintings.

His theoretical output includes 87 articles, reviews, critiques and 5 outstanding books. Chronologically:
1. „Unism in painting” - 1928
2. „Composition in space. Calcuating of time and spatial rhythms” - 1931. The publication elaborated together with Katarzyna Kobro.
3. „On modern art” - 1934 (group work)
4.”Functional print” - 1935.
5. „Theory of vision” - 1958, issued after the artist’s death.

 

Wladyslaw_Strzeminski

from the left:
Władysław Strzemiński, image source: Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe
Kompozycja unistyczna 14 (Unism composition no.14), 1934, Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź
Landscape of Łódź, 1931, Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź

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