Mikołaj Smoczyński. The Reality of Context

exhibition: 19.11-23.12.2021


Galeria Piekary
ul. Św. Marcin 80/82
61-809 Poznań
CK Zamek, Dziedziniec Różany
exhibition open Monday-Friday 10 AM-6 PM
admission always free

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the promoters open the exhibition to the public without an official preview. Visitors are required to wear masks covering their nose and mouth and to disinfect their hands with a sanitizer provided by the Gallery (the dispenser is to be found at the entrance). No more than 5 persons can be in the Gallery at one time.

Co-financed by the City of Poznań

[…] I work with simple, commonplace materials
to change the context of reality,
show the opulence of ordinary reality
e.g. by means of the relationship between the floor and the wall.

Mikołaj Smoczyński

9/11 Art Space Foundation and the Piekary Gallery are pleased to present Mikołaj Smoczyński. The Reality of Context, and exhibition showcasing Smoczyński’s photographic oeuvre created in the 1980s and 1990s. Sourced from a number of private collections, this is a comprehensive overview of his most important pieces and the issues the artist explored in his work. 

The artist’s undertakings focused on experiencing and acting in space whilst exploiting the possibilities of the materials used for this purpose; Smoczyński would create site-specific installations and record them in black-and-white photography. The exhibition sets out with the pieces from his early 1980s series, Double Object and The Secret Performance. Double Object is an artefact made from the remains of his paintings with which Smoczyński experimented in the space of his Lublin studi,. The photograph—as a record of the artist’s activities—raises the issue of departure from traditional painting. The secret performance captures changing states of reality. Smoczyński observed the floor, its texture, the play of light and shadow, dust and water on the floor tiles, documenting this amazing spectacle.

Work with the image and its representation, the experience of conceptualism or, ultimately, its transposition into intermedia space constitute the themes that would resurface in Smoczyński’s subsequent works displayed at the exhibition, including the Images series from the 1980s (the yield of the activities at the Old Gallery in Lublin in 1988) or the Reflective Image series from 1991. The exhibition is complemented by footage documenting his actions at the Wschodnia Gallery in Łódź (Relocation, 1987; Parallel Action, 1991), the Museum of Textiles in Łódź during the famed exhibition Konstrukcja w procesie, 1991 (Image, Imagine), San Diego University Art Gallery (The Hoisting, 1991), Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (solo exhibition, 1993), Potocka Gallery in Krakow (The Photograph, 1993). The remainder of the exhibition spans works created during the artist’s fellowship in France (Mediterrean Sea, 1994; Still, Map Room and Object, 1994).

A catalogue in which Adam Mazur recapitulates the project will be published after the opening of the exhibition.

Mikołaj Smoczyński (born 22.03.1955 in Łódź, died 02.01.2009 in Lublin) was a painter, photographer, performer, creator of objects and installations. In 1974 – 1975, he studied at the State Higher School of Visual Arts in Łódź and continued his studies at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin in 1975-1979, graduating in painting in Jan Popek’s studio. Then, from 1984 to 1985, he completed a fellowship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the studio of Professor Ryszard Winiarski. He was also associated with the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań (currently the Magdalena Abakanowicz University of Arts), where he received his doctoral degree, and the Institute of Art Education, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin.

Awards and honours: Stanisław Wyspiański Art Award (Warsaw, 1990); Polish Graphic Arts Triennial (Katowice, 1991); Grand Prix, 5th International Drawing Triennial (Wrocław, 1992); European Photography Award (Berlin, 1992).

Major fellowships: Fondation de’Art de la Napoule, Memorial Henry Clews (la Napoule, France, 1993); Soros Foundation (New York, 1995); Jurzykowski Foundation (New York, 1997); Kościuszko Foundation (New York, 2001); The Pollock Krasner Foundation (New York, 2001); International Program Studio (New York, 2001).

Works of the artist have been acquired by e.g. the National Museums in Szczecin, Poznań and Warsaw, Museum of Art in Łódź, Zachęta National Art Gallery in Warsaw, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, MOCAK in Krakow, Museum of Photography, San Diego (USA) and many others.

Selected solo exhibitions:


Stara Gallery, Lublin


Stara Gallery, Lublin

Foksal Gallery, Warsaw

San Diego State University Art Gallery, San Diego (USA)


E.L.A.C. Lyon, France


Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw


Krzysztofory Gallery, Krakow


Foksal Gallery, Warsaw

Art in General Gallery, New York;


Stara Gallery, Lublin


Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw


IFA Galerie, Berlin (Germany)


U Jezuitów Gallery, Poznań


Arsenał Gallery, Poznań

International Studio Program, New York;


BWA Gallery, Zielona Góra

Sektor I Gallery, Katowice;


Labirynt 2 Gallery, Lublin

Zmiana właściwości miejscowej, Labirynt 2 Gallery, Lublin


Słupy milowe, Cysterna, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw

Plakat autorski, Grodzka Gallery, Lublin

Mapa (obrazy i instalacje), Museum of the Lubusz Region, Zielona Góra

Selected collective exhibitions:


Co słychać, Former Norblin Works, Warsaw;


Polska Fotografia Intermedialna, Arsenał Gallery, Poznań;


Magowie i Mistycy, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw;


Konstrukcja w procesie, Museum of the Textile Industry, Łódź;


ŁódźLyon, Musee Saint Pierre l’Art Contemporain, Lyon

European Photography, Museum of Modern Art, Berlin;


3th Istanbul Biennial, Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul


Frontiera, Museum of Contemporary Art, Bolzano (Italy)


Nowosielski, Smoczyński, Tarasewicz, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw;


Aspects/Positions, 50 Years of Art In Central Europe 19491999, Museum Moderner Kunst Stifting Ludwig, Vienna


Duzzle Gradually, Apex Art, New York


Transmissions, Palais du Rhin, Strasbourg (France)

Arte a Centreeuropa 19491999, Fundatio Joan Miro, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona


Here and Now, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw


Zanurzenie, Centre for Contemporary Art, Kyiv (Ukraine)


Malarze fotografują, Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art, Słupsk


Terytoria, Centre for Culture, Lublin


Na początku było pismo, Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art, Słupsk


Międzynarodowa Kolekcja Sztuki Współczesnej, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw