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Roma Hałat | Andrzej Szewczyk

Dec 9, 2023 – Jan 13, 2024

The exhibition ‘Repeat/Recall’ creates a space for dialogue between selected 
works by Roma Hałat and works by Andrzej Szewczyk from collection. 
The exhibition focuses on the points of contact between paradoxically different 
and similar realisations, and the fascinations associated with them. These aspects certainly include the search for the limits of painting through conceptual activities, inspiration by writing, alphabets as sets of graphic signs, sensitivity towards everyday life and, finally, the repetition of the artistic gesture in extended series. 

At the same time, in the early 1970s, Hałat and Szewczyk painted using the house painter’s roller with cut-out patterns. In both cases they were a way of exploring 
the limits of painting, treated as an ‘activity in itself’, and an experimental rejection of the individual gesture and classical aesthetics. They both reduced painting to a physical activity. In the history of Polish art, it was Szewczyk who pioneered this solution. However, before he initiated, together with Tomasz Wawak, the series of picture painting unified with wall painting’ in 1974, Roma Hałat used this tool for a week in 1971 in the rooms of the Art Propaganda Centre in Łódź, creating large-scale compositions in front of the public. The sheer size of the works made it impossible to remove them from the exhibition venues, which is why none of the original works from this period have survived. The artist reproduced two of the paintings on a smaller scale three decades later. 

In 1977 Roma Hałat had transferred the image of a fleshless leaf blade onto canvas, initiating the series ‘Landscapes’, which begins with an analysis of the surrounding world, synthesising what is available to the eye and capturing it in simple forms. She continued this series until the mid-1980s. During this time Szewczyk turned to new methods and materials such as coloured pencils, molten lead and, since the 1990s, pistachio shells, semen and human and animal blood.  

Hałat and Szewczyk also revisit themes related to literature and calligraphy. 
The titles of their works are inspired by epics, poetry and epistolography. 
Their paintings and objects are written with tiny rows of holes, pencil shavings, pistachio shells, lead fused into wood and less rhythmic patches of paint on canvas and paper. By using the conventions of the written word, they invoked artistic forms that carried content and emotion, and the apparent illegibility of their verses invited alternative readings beyond the purely linguistic. 

Szewczyk’s creations are sometimes compared to the Orthodox tradition of icon writing and the Russian etymology of the word ‘painting’ – żywopis (Russian: живопись), which refers to painting as a living record of life. In the context of Szewczyk’s works, the term palimpsest is used, i.e. a manuscript made on material that has already been used. Szewczyk’s interventions added another layer, most often on the pages of books, old invitations or envelopes. In 1985, Roma Hałat initiated the series ‘Triads’, in which each work consists of three layers, which are treated more painterly or graphically. In the top layer, the artist cut small holes and, by tilting them away, revealed what was hidden on the inner sheets. Personal notes by the artist and fragments of her favourite literary works became an integral part of the work. Their content, however, was in a sense encoded, enchanted in the characteristic handwriting, written backwards with the left hand.


The recurring forms in their realisations are reminiscent of knots or beads strung 
on a prayer rope used to count down mystical formulae. Regularity, multiplicity 
and recurrence open the way to negation, to reconsideration, to the achievement of understanding by recalling what is known and what is still beyond the sphere of cognition. Recurrence is a gesture of necessity and cultivation, both of art itself and of the exploration of the world’s impenetrable mysteries.

curator: Katarzyna  Piskorz

Roma Hałat  (1937, Bydgoszcz – 2012, Łódź)


She graduated from the State School of Fine Arts in Łódź. She was studying first in Stefan Wagner’s and next in Teresa Tyszkiewicz’s studios, their art having an important influence on her artistic stance. In 1962 Roma Hałat began teaching at her alma mater. She was appointed Tyszkiewicz’s assistant in the Textile Printing Design studio. In the years 1959-1963, she belonged to the literary and art group “Nowa Linia” [New Line]. In 1969 she co-founded the “Konkret” group. From 1985, she collaborated with Galeria 86 in Łódź. In 2007 she received the Silver Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis. She passed away in 2021 in Łódź.

Andrzej Szewczyk (1950, Szopienice – 2001, Cieszyn)

Painter, sculptor, commentator on his own work. In the years 1974-1978 he studied at the Faculty of Visual Education of the Silesian University in Katowice, Cieszyn branch. Until the end of his life he lived and worked in the nearby village of Kaczyce Górne, far from the artistic centres. Initially, he focused on painting and sculpture. At the end of the 1960s, he created his first spatial arrangements and took part in artistic actions. He has been associated with the Foksal Gallery since 1977. His works are in the collections of the Museum of Art in Łódź, the Zachęta Gallery in Warsaw and the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom. 

exhibition co-organizer:

logo dela art collection złożone z połączonych liter A i D po lewej oraz zapisanej nazwy instytucji po prawej
Okładka folderu towarzyszącego wystawie "Powtórzyć, przypomnieć"; beżowe tło z elipsami w pastelowych kolorach oraz napis: ROMA HAŁAT ANDRZEJ SZEWCZYK powtórzyć | przypomnieć; repeat | recall

photos: Błażej Pindor


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