Edward Dwurnik (1943–2018) founded an exceptional one-man painting firm, which over half a century successfully embodied the informal credo: every society has its art. This distinguished artist left behind a vast, fascinating and only partially explored oeuvre.
Gathering in the Square at Raster is the first official exhibition of Dwurnik since his death, and opens a new chapter in the reading of his work. Our aim is to reveal the painter as an artist with an exceptional social ear and intuition, working in a state of continual mobilization, towards art as well as its broad cultural and political context. An artist/trickster who didn’t shun the vernacular or provocation, consciously manoeuvring between symbolism and the grotesque, the banal and the lofty, creating paintings that uncannily suit the current atmosphere of political suffocation, polarization and populism.
The exhibition features selected paintings from the 1980s from two famed painting series by Dwurnik, Sportsmen and Workers. This was a special decade in the artist’s work. In 1982 he took part in the most important international review of contemporary art, Documenta in Kassel. But it was also a time of martial law, crisis, and social tension in Poland. Dwurnik’s visionary and empathetic painting carries a unique charge of expression. The painter does not avert his gaze—to the contrary, with his paintings he bores into questions of the condition of the Polish masses, their breakdowns, obsessions and fantasies. Here we also recognize various constituents: people donning smiling masks and soaring on wings—like the postman solitarily traversing the grey Polish abyss. Pictures heavy with paint and muddy tones, painted with verve and passion, are thrilling on both narrative and material levels.
During his life Dwurnik participated in several Raster exhibitions and projects, for example presentingt the individual exhibition Until the End, 1973 (2003), and most recently took part in the groupe exhibition If I Were the Moon (2018).