2021-09-11 - 2021-10-31

Curated by: Magdalena Lewoc

Artists: Ryszard Górecki

“Pizza Soldiers” is a presentation of a wide choice of works by Ryszard Górecki. The artist, born in 1956 in Słubice, debuted in the early 1980s, at the beginning of the last phase of the communism.

During the turbulent decade of the 1990s, Górecki managed to combine his individual artistic activity with running his gallery – Galeria Prowincjonalna in Słubice, experiencing ups and downs of the transformation of the political system in Poland. In 2002, when neoliberalism was solidifying in this country, Górecki emigrated to Berlin. 

In this case, the artist’s biographical scenario has been crucial for his art. Górecki was born at the height of the Cold War and grew up at the border of cultures and languages, in the shadow of great and dramatic history, in Słubice – a town, militarised at that time, in the Polish-German borderland, in the context of two antagonistic political and economical systems. The dynamics of history caused the realia in which the artist functioned to change at a great pace. Their critical observation and reflection over them were the basic area of his artistic activity.

Górecki’s analytic sense, distance and subtle irony let him develop a unique visual language for all of those experiences. In explicit or allusive ways, it revealed violent structures in social organisation of the Polish People’s Republic, as well as in mechanisms of early Polish turbocapitalism and in full-grown structures of the consumer society. Regardless of the kind of economical and ideological models observed by the artist in his particular realisations, his attention is invariably focused on mechanisms of social engineering, system methods of government and persuasive spreading of models of life. Typically for contemporary art, Górecki’s formal language combines various inspirations – simplified, geometricising and rhythmicised compositions and the artist’s favoured technique of using heterogeneous elements to assemble collages, objects and even paintings are of Modernist origin. Górecki willingly reaches for the language of electronic media, of contemporary advertising, of the culture of a logo and for such methods of visualising the knowledge as diagrams, charts and models. He is keen on employing the method of artistic recycling: he brings already existing images and signs out of their original contexts, processes them and presents them in new configurations. Górecki’s latest paintings, in which he uses strongly emotional elements belonging to non-artistic reality, are complex meaning constructions, the points of which emerge gradually with discovering their particular layers.

The paintings, collages, photo montages and objects presented at the exhibition in The National Museum in Szczecin were created within the last twenty-five years. The leitmotif of the exposition is one of the artist’s most expanded series. “Pizza Soldiers” is a paper army of 220 soldiers cut out of pizza boxes and located in surprising scenes as collages. The pacifist and antimilitaristic resonance of this bitterly ironic set of works points out the cynicism of the ideology of neoliberalism and free market, which do not abstain from using or even stimulating conflicts and wars for the sake of profit.