Antoni Janusz Pastwa’s exhibition Form Speaks

Works

“For me, the measure of Janusz Pastwa’s creative mastery is his talent for using a chisel – also the conventional one – on the border of what is marked and unmarked, added and cut off in mid-word, half-thought; the ability to take sculpture from the space of still life to the sphere of spirituality, where convention means life, experience, feeling.”

~Waldemar Dąbrowski, Director of the Grand Theater – National Opera

About the exhibition Forma says

Iwona Staroszczyk

Limited Edition Gallery

I met Professor Antoni Janusz Pastwa on the occasion of the exhibition of his works “Animals and People. Shared Sunshine, Shared Rain” at the Museum of Literature in Warsaw in 2019. We were already having the first tentative discussions about our potential cooperation. Unfortunately, the timing of the pandemic thwarted the plans.

When life returned to normal, the Professor made his presence known again with a high-profile exhibition at the Opera Gallery of the Grand Theater – National Opera in 2020. It was one of those exhibitions that are deeply memorable. At that time, our next meeting was arranged by a mutual friend, Waldemar Górnicki. He believed that something special would be born from this tandem.

For a very long time I wondered what I could do for this class of sculptor to go beyond merely warming myself in His splendor? Antoni Janusz Pastwa is the co-author of the Apollo Quadriga on the front of the Grand Theater – National Opera and many other well-known sculptural realizations, and is the recipient of many awards and honors, including a two-time winner of the Norwid Prize (2002 and 2018) and a recipient of the Gold Medal “Meritorious to Culture Gloria Artis” (2019). He has had exhibitions and has works in the collections of major art and cultural institutions in Poland and abroad. He is a member of the Program Council of the Polish Sculpture Center in Oronsko and has nurtured many outstanding sculptors.

At the same time, Professor Pastwa is a remarkably humble person. He never cared for the fame and honor so much due him. Hence the idea of doing an exhibition to accompany the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Art Fair was born. This significant anniversary of Poland’s key fair, which is visited annually by 10,000 people: collectors, art lovers and art dealers, is a good excuse to broadly showcase the work of a sculptor considered one of the most important in the history of Polish art.

My proposal to organize an exhibition of Professor Antoni Janusz Pastwa on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Art Fair met with understanding and enthusiasm of the Fair’s Program Director, Ms. Kama Zboralska, and the organizers – the Rempex auction house in the persons of Mr. Piotr Lengiewicz and Ms. Katarzyna Marciniak, whom I thank. I would also like to express my gratitude to Mr. Marcin Fedisz of the Opera Gallery of the Grand Theater – National Opera for his invaluable help in creating the exhibition.

Professor Pastwa takes a long time to find the right form, His sculptures are created slowly. As a result, there are not many of them. Each of them is deeply thought out, non-accidental, because, thanks to the strength of his character, the artist never wanted to respond to the expectations of the market. The “Form Speaks” exhibition is cross-sectional. It presents objects sculpted in a variety of materials, which were created at several stages of the artist’s career. The exhibition is a rare opportunity to include the Professor’s sculptures in your collections. With it, the art market stands to gain a lot.

WIESLAWA M. WIDERYNSKA

Art historian, certifed curator in the feld of contemporary art, author of critical texts about art, as well as organizer of many permanent and temporary exhibitions.

One can write and write about the work of Professor Antoni Janusz Pastwa, because he is an artist who has an important and undisputed place in the history of contemporary Polish sculpture. But no less important is his enormous pedagogical achievements. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, he remained at his alma mater, where for over forty years he taught students not only diffcult and demanding techniques, but above all how to develop an individual, distinct language of sculpture. While working at the university, he devoted every free moment to his own works. From the beginning of his individual creative path, he has expressed himself through form, creating unique sculptures. His artistic attitude has been consistent and uncompromising for years. Excellent workshop skills and above-average technical effciency when working on sculptures were revealed in classic realizations. It is worth mentioning here the many busts of famous people in which the artist brought out not only the physical similarity, but also the entire emotional expression of the model. The culmination of the artist’s dialogue with art having its origins in ancient Greece was Apollo’s Quadriga, made together with Adam Myjak, which today decorates the façade of the Grand Theater in Warsaw. The language used by the sculptor is form, which is created by proportions, lines, texture and color. With this language, Antoni Janusz Pastwa masterfully conveys universal truths to us without unnecessary pathos. The dynamic silhouette of a beautiful horse, full of vitality in motion, harnessed to a divine chariot, over time turns into a shadow leaning to the other side on its earthly journey. And this moment, the decline in the existence of living beings, is one of the important topics in the creation of the sculptor’s own work. Antoni Janusz Pastwa’s creative interests revolve around the synthetically depicted human or animal fgure. He looks for a concise language in sculpture and strives to synthesize the simplest shapes possible. You feel the material, its color and structure. It moves well in granite, which is the most diffcult for a sculptor, or in the favorite marble from the Greek island of Thasos. Reaching the cradle of European civilization is not accidental. Greece and Rome discovered by the Renaissance create the foundations of European culture. They give us a sense of continuity and duration of art. The motif of a sculpture that is a symbol of Rome, the fgure of a she-wolf feeding human children, is one of the themes in the sculptor’s works. The synthetic silhouette of a proud representative of the animal world, carved in marble, delights with its form and variety of textures, standing among the greenery of the garden in Złotokłos. This is not a simple imitation of Italian statues, but a form recapitulated by the sculptor. In the sculptures from the SHADOWS series, the artist stops the fgure of the passing world in space and touches the highest truths regarding our existence. The hero of one of the sculptures at the exhibition is a donkey. Someone asked the professor why him? And again the most important thing was the form, that is, the way the donkey stands… like some philosopher…

The next series of sculptures, which is the result of deep refection and has its own fully mature style, is the TORSOS series. A favorite motif of classical sculpture – the human torso reduced to a conventional and universal symbol. Made mainly of polychrome wood to emphasize the rough surface of the wood, it gives the impression of an extremely precise and well-thought-out construction. It has a simplifed form, often reminiscent of Egyptian sarcophagi. It is a kind of sculptor’s code that aims to evoke specifc emotions and impressions in the viewer. In his sculptural works, Antoni Janusz Pastwa looks for a language that is concise, yet clear to a sensitive viewer. Each of his works is well-thought-out and preceded by deep analysis. His activities in the feld of art involve people... after all, when I carve these animals, I carve people, that’s obvious...he wrote in one of the interviews.

 

Was born on January 26, 1944 in Brzóza near Kozienice. He attended the Art High School in Kielce. Then he studied at the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1964–1970, frst in the studio of prof. Marian Wnuk, and later in the studio of prof. Stanisław Słonina. He obtained his diploma in 1970. In the years 1974–1981 he was an assistant to prof. Słonina. In 1980 he became an assistant professor. From 1981 he ran a stone workshop. In 1987 he received the title of associate professor, and in 1992 he was appointed professor of fne arts. In the years 1995–2019 he ran a sculpture studio at the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art, and in the years 2001–2019 a diploma workshop at the Faculty of Sculpture. In the years 1990–1996, 1999–2002, 2002–2006 he was the Dean of the Faculty of Sculpture at his alma mater. Member of the Program Council of the Center of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko. He has repeatedly participated in the work of the jury of national sculpture competitions, often serving as chairman. Artistic supervisor of many spatial projects. His works are in the collections of: the National Museum in Warsaw, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, the Sports Museum in Madrid, the Center of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, the Center for Contemporary Art Studio, the Arsenał Gallery in Poznań and in the spaces of Kielce, Lublin, Gdańsk, Radom, Villány (Hungary), the island of Tinos (Greece) and in private collections in Poland and abroad. In 2009, a flm about the artist was made called Sculpture trapped in time, which was repeatedly broadcast on Polish television.

  • 1972 Sculpture Gallery, Warsaw
  • 1976 ZPAP Gallery, Warsaw
  • 1978 Krzywe Koło Gallery, Warsaw
  • 1980 Atlantis Gallery, Duisburg
  • 1987 Arsenal Gallery
  • 1991 Spicchi dell’Est, Rome
  • 1994 Studio Gallery, Warsaw
  • 1996 Mała Galeria, Nowy Sącz
  • 1998 Aula Gallery, Warsaw
  • 1998 BWA, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski
  • 2001 Zamek Cultural Center, Poznań
  • 2005 Museum of the Polish Sculpture Center, Orońsko
  • 2006 Studio Gallery, Warsaw
  • 2007 Spoleto Art Festival
  • 2007 Institute of Polish Culture, Rome
  • 2008 Studio Gallery, Warsaw
  • 2010 BWA, Białystok
  • 2011 Institute of Polish Culture Rome
  • 2012 BWA, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski
  • 2013 Polish Institute, Rome
  • 2014 Academy Salon, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw 2015 Art Stage of KUL, Lublin
  • 2017 Academy Salon, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
  • 2019 Museum of Literature, Warsaw
  • 2022 Opera Gallery, Grand Theater National Opera
  • 2023 „Wróblewski and after... The art of direct realism”, National Museum in Lublin

He also took part in many collective exhibitions in Poland and abroad.

MAJOR AWARDS

  • 1973 1st prize in the National Competition for the Józef Brandt Monument, Orońsko
  • 1977 1st prize in the International Biennale of Sport in Art, Madrid
  • 1970–1980 scholarship from the MKS Cultural Fund
  • 1966 2nd and 3rd prize in the Olympic Art Competition
  • 1996 Award of the Minister of Culture
  • 2002 Norwid Award
  • 2004 Golden Olympic Laurel, a special award of the Polish Olympic Committee in the feld of art
  • 2009 Brother Albert Award
  • 2011 Silver Medal for „Merit to Culture Gloria Artis”
  • 2012 2nd prize in the competition for the Stanisław Staszic monument, Warsaw
  • 2018 Norwid Award
  • 2019 Gold Medal for „Merit to Culture Gloria Artis” and many other awards and distinctions.

MAJOR PROJECTS

  • 1973 monument to Józef Brandt, Orońsko
  • 1974 Ulysses, Villány (Hungary)
  • 1979 monument to Henryk Wieniawski, Lublin
  • 1981 Katyń monument, Warsaw Prague (with Adam Myjak)
  • 1997 Dowborczyk, monument reconstruction, Warsaw
  • 1999 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Częstochowa (with Adam Myjak)
  • 1999 Golden Eagles statuette for the best advertising, still implemented today
  • 2002 quadriga on the front of the Grand Theater – National Opera (with Adam Myjak)
  • 2004 Patron of Culture statuette
  • 2007 Patron of Culture in Warsaw statuette
  • 2008 Benefactor of Culture statuette
  • 2016 reliefs on the Foksal Residence building, Warsaw
  • 2017 Jerzy Janicki monument, Warsaw
  • 2020 monument to Stanisław Jankowski „Agaton”, Warsaw

and busts, portraits of famous people.

Exhibition catalogue

Dla mediów