To the Margin and Back is the first international museum solo show of the Polish artist Andrzej Wróblewski (Vilnius 1927 – Tatra Mountains 1957). The selection of sixty-seven works including paintings, gouaches, monotypes and woodcuts, offers an in-depth look into the output and biography of one of the most exceptional and perhaps underrated figures of 20th century art.
Wróblewski’s practice is an intriguing example of a struggle waged by an individual within the rapidly developing political regime in the post-world war II Eastern Europe. From the early engagement in the Polish avant-garde movement marked by participation in the much-discussed 1st Exhibition of Modern Art, to series of canvases that provide an acute observation of the war-time trauma (Executions, 1949), to socialist-realist paintings as well as works which convey the sense of disorder, social alienation and failed expectations concerning the role of art in the new reality (series of Chairings and Chauffeurs). Wróblewski’s oeuvre proves inextricably interwoven with the events of the time and testifies to his belief that “every participation in life, even a crippled one, was better than observation, better than occupying the position of a viewer”.
The exhibition retraces this narrative, at the same time highlighting the artist’s lifelong interest in human nature, its masks and social codes that pushed him to constantly negotiate his own position. Spread between the extremes of two artistic idioms, and bound by personal tension, To the Margin and Back is itself a journey that creates new challenges to the existent readings of Andrzej Wróblewski and proposes new vistas for international audiences.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, which – for the first time – discloses the history of Wróblewski to an international public. The volume includes two critical texts addressing his artistic practice written by art historians Andrzej Kostołowski and Joanna Kordjak, a historical statement by the artist and photographer Zbigniew Dłubak. The essential part of the book offers a comprehensive selection of the artist’s writings (most of which were published in Polish as press articles, ranging from critiques aimed at the system of fine art academies to comments and remarks on exhibitions), as well as private notes, short texts, film scripts and letters