The “Views” Prize 2015
The Nominees Have Been Selected

She calls herself a Catholic feminist, loves Madonna and Lady Gaga, and makes videos in which the Holy Mass resembles an LSD trip: Ada Karczmarczyk underwent a spiritual awakening in 2012, and ever since, she’s been creating religious art for the Generation Smartphone. Her funny videos, in which she sings the good news in hand-made sets and costumes, have brought the young Polish artist Karczmarczyk all the way to the Postmasters Gallery in New York—and onto the list of nominees for the “Views” Prize. Initiated in 2003 as a cooperative project with Deutsche Bank, its foundation, and the Zachęta National Gallery in Warsaw, “Views” has become the most important award for contemporary Polish art. After receiving the award, Konrad Smolenski, for instance, the winner of 2012, represented Poland at the Venice Biennale.

Along with Karczmarczyk, four additional artists have been nominated for the prize, which is awarded every two years. While in the early 2000s it was chiefly conceptual painters like Wilhelm Sasnal and Michał Jankowski that stood for new Polish art, the situation is much more varied today. Film, installation, comics, and performance are some of the media the “Views” artists use. This year’s focus, however, is on sculptural works. Alicja Bielawska carries the lines in her drawings into the third dimension—in the form of curved steel rods that inject a dynamism into the space in a minimal way. At the same time, however, her reduced, brilliantly colored sculptures are always reminiscent of something else; they come across as poetic fragments of everyday environments or situations such as furniture, playgrounds, and tents of which only sketchy contours remain. Bielawska frequently breaks the soberness of her constructions by hanging shiny fabrics over them, or covering them in colorful clay.

Iza Tarasewicz also combines minimal, furniture-like structures or found spaces with a variety of materials: cement, steel, and tar hit up against fur, dried guts, and ashes—symbolically charged substances that Tarasewicz uses to create an entire cosmos of meaning and myth that could just as well be inspired by archaic ritual as by Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, or Louise Bourgeois.

On the other hand, Piotr Łakomy’s work clearly belongs to the purist Minimalist tradition. He uses Styrofoam, cement, and plastic to make cool, reduced sculptures and installations, which he often accentuates with LED lighting or light bulbs. His monochromatic works speak of concentration and a sober view—as an antidote to the flood of visual imagery that crashes over us each day.

Reduction to the essential is also the stylistic means Agnieszka Piksa uses in her comics, which have been shown at the 2014 São Paulo Biennale. With their surreal and melancholic humor, her drawings, usually made in black ink, poke fun at the absurdity of the everyday.

As always, the Zachęta presents the latest works of the nominees in a major exhibition. On October 22, the winner of the 15,000-Euro “Views” Prize and the Villa Romana fellowship will be announced during a festive gala.  

Views 2015
9/7 – 11/15/2015
Zachęta National Gallery, Warsaw