REL-A(C)TIONS - exhibition of artists associated with Małgorzata Rel's authorial studio
Anna Baranowska, Agnieszka Dora, Anna Dropczyńska, Anna Dudzińska, Piotr Gałązka, Marcin Guźla, Aleksander Kienc, Aleksandra Kisielewicz, Jan Kot, Dorota Kwiatkowska, Monika Michnik, Tomasz Pawlak, Daniel Stachowski, Ignacy Starzyński, Henryk Żarski, Unidentified artists
Opening: Thursday 16 March 2023, 5:00 p.m.
Exhibition open until: Friday 28 April 2023
& Studio for Socio-Cultural Inclusions
Wrocław, 46A Ruska Street
Exibition Artistic Mentors: Małgorzata Niemczyk and Basia Starzyńska
Producer: Miriam Pawlęga
The REL-A(C)TIONS exhibition presents works by male and female artists associated with Małgorzata Rel's own studio.
The artist, art therapist, social activist and, above all, an expert in and fascinated by art brut, outsider art and naïve art, who died in September 2022, left behind a rich collection of works by her students.
The exhibition is devised as a presentation of the works of individual artists, showing the achievements of around twenty years of Małgorzata's work with art brut and outsider art artists. The artists in Małgorzata Rel's studio are primarily accomplished draughtsmen and painters associated with, among others, the 'Ostoja' Association in Wrocław, the ‘Wojtówka Community Association’ and the 'Foundation for the Differently Abled'. Over the years, Malgorzata has also collaborated with the ArtBrut Gallery & Studio on numerous exhibitions and projects involving her students.
The selection of works was guided by the variety of themes, motifs and techniques representative of the individual artists. The visual qualities, expressive colour, formal expression, and uniqueness of the line and compositional arrangements are noteworthy. In addition to the figurative paintings, colour abstractions with a strong expressive power make a strong impression. The current exhibition consists of works from the private collection of Małgorzata Rel, from the collection of ArtBrut Gallery, and works prepared by the artists specifically for this exhibition. Not all of the works from Małgorzata Rel's collection are signed or signed by their authors. We have decided to show some of them hoping that the exhibition will be an opportunity to identify or find their creators.
In addition to the artistic dimension, the exhibition provides an opportunity to commemorate and to better present Małgorzata Rel as a person. A selection of archive material and documentation showing the diversity of her life's activities will therefore also be presented, with the hope that this could form the basis for further studies and monographs on Małgorzata's activities.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the preparation of the exhibition, in particular: the family of Małgorzata Rel – Andrzej Rel and Adam Ryszard Prokop, as well as Basia Starzyńska, Małgorzata Kazimierczak, Henryka Kienc, Marianna Chrostek.
The exhibition of works by artists associated with the authorial studio of Małgorzata Rel (b. 1965 - d. 2022) is for me and for her friends, students and charges an expression of gratitude for the gift of her life, so deeply marked by suffering, yet full of extraordinary activities and creative commitment. She was always interested in work involving the education of children and young people, and art was a very special passion of hers. In 1988, she graduated from the teaching training college in the field of fine arts.
At the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, Małgorzata Rel was associated with the Theatre Action Group, participating in rehearsals of experimental theatre, workshops, performances and festivals (Festival of Open Theatre in Wrocław, International Festival of Street Theatre in Jelenia Góra and others). At the exhibition, we present a looped video étude by Małgorzata Kazimierczak. The material has been digitized, edited and prepared by the author especially for the exhibition with the aim of commemorating Małgorzata's wide-ranging activities and works.
Difficult experiences, caused by her health condition, opened a new chapter in her life, directing her towards new challenges, however, neither this prevented her from fulfilling neither her passions in the field of upbringing and teaching, nor deepening her expertise in the field of pedagogy and art.
She was also interested in philosophical and theological issues, crowned with a master's degree in theology at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Wrocław (1997). She deepened her passion for art at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Zielona Góra, obtaining her Master of Arts degree (2007). Furthermore, she completed postgraduate studies in librarianship (2000), fine arts (2002) and independent education (2008). She has twice begun doctoral studies - at the University of Wrocław in pedagogy and at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Opole. Her research interests have focused on the issue of empowerment of people with intellectual disabilities, as well as Edith Stein's empathy and Gerda Walther's phenomenology of mysticism.
From 2005 to 2017 she worked at the 'OSTOJA' Association for People with Disabilities in Wrocław, where she carried out therapeutic activities (artistic and educational) with people affected by various dysfunctions. She also collaborated with the 'Wojtówka Community Association' near Lądek Zdrój, where she ran cyclical art workshops, as well as with the 'Foundation for the Differently Able' and the 'YES' Club at the Society of Friends of Children in Wrocław, co-organising open-air events and exhibitions. Her co-operation with the ArtBrut Gallery & Studio in Wrocław and the YES Gallery in Poznań has contributed to the promotion of outstanding Wrocław artists of the art brut and outsider art genres.
In her work with her charges, she referred to familiar concepts, symbols and values embedded in many cultural traditions, which was reflected in the diversity of the subjects of the works. She respected their freedom of artistic expression. She inspired young artists by introducing them to the arcane of art history via visits to exhibitions, excursions and paratheatrical activities.
Twenty years of experience in working with people with intellectual disabilities has resulted in numerous group exhibitions of the works of her charges in Wrocław libraries, art galleries in Poznań, Lublin and Wrocław, as well as in the Art Museums in Warsaw, Katowice and Wrocław. Her spectacular success was the promotion of several artists who participated in many exhibitions and collections of outsider art and art brut, both nationally and internationally.
The current exhibition is designed as a presentation of the works of individual artists, Małgorzata's students, showing the achievements of approximately twenty years of work under the guidance of Małgorzata, a 'reliant caregiver'. The term 'compliant caregiver' is related to Małgorzata's approach to working with people with disabilities and was taken from the philosophical premises of Tadeusz Kotarbiński.
Translated by: Paweł Granicki