Name: Polish Contemporary Sculpture - Władysław Hasior
Date of Issue: 06 March 2009
Władysław Hasior (1928-1999)
The artist was born in the town of Nowy Sącz. He graduated from the Liceum Technik Plastycznych art school in Zakopane where he was educated under the tuition of professor Antoni Kenar. Between 1952 and 1958 he studied at the faculty of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, receiving professional guidance in the atelier of professor Marian Wnuk. Having finished his studies, he embarked on numerous journeys and took part in many exhibitions, which was made possible owing to, among others, a scholarship of the French Ministry of Culture. Up to 1968 he taught in his former secondary school in Zakopane, and in the early 70s he worked in Wrocław, lecturing at the Higher School of Fine Arts and creating stage design for the Polish Theatre there.
Hasior was an active participant of the artistic life of Zakopane, paying particular attention to the activities of his gallery, which was established in 1985 as a branch of the Tatra Museum. That museum was also the beneficiary of Hasior's last will, and received his works after the artist's death. Many of Hasior's other creations are kept by state museums in various Polish towns and cities and in national galleries worldwide, including Stockholm, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Milan, Montevideo and Sao Paulo, not to mention those in the hands of the private collectors.
Władysław Hasior was an outstandingly original artist who never copied any trends. In his work he utilised various kinds of material, including some finished objects (such as dolls, pitchforks, mirrors) and fragments of others. That was because he claimed that the traditional sculptor's medium is not capable of conveying the message he wanted to send. He used to say "I'm using materials which have some meaning. Each and every object has its sense, and if you put them together, you get an aphorism. [...] I believe the artist's work consists in provocation, both in the intellectual and the creative aspect."
In his outdoor creations the artist utilised fire, water, wind, sound and glass. One of his original creative inventions was using holes made in the ground in order to cast cement figures. Critics saw the influences of Dadaism, surrealism and pop art in Hasior's work. He was also inspired by folk arts, and was a careful observer of everyday reality, in particular that of the countryside. The artist liked to watch and document the cheap aesthetics of something he called "county arts"(sztuka powiatowa), which he then referred to in his work. He also reached into the mythology and conjured up memories of the war, invariably presenting the subjects in an unconventional manner and attaching new meaning to trite symbols, mixing macabre and cruelty with grotesque, irony and jest. His exhibitions were full of controversy, but at the same time prompted the viewers to reflection.
Hasior's assemblages, inspired by religious procession banners, started to appear in the mid 1960s. Although they were constructed with the use of fabric, plastic objects, wood, metal or glass, the artist called them "paintings." They are very large, reaching between 1,5 and 4 metres in height and around 1 metre in width, and they are a mixture of both solemn symbols and the everyday aspects of life, which is seen from their titles such as: The Banner of St. Pensioner (Sztandar Św. Emeryta), The Banner of the Bird Spider (Sztandar Ptasznika), The Banner of Mona Lisa (Sztandar Mony Lisy), The Banner of Poland (Sztandar Polski), The Banner of the Black Angel (Sztandar Czarnego Anioła), The Flinging Blaze Banner (Sztandar Blaskomiotny), The Banner of Ecstasy (Sztandar Ekstazy). The artist used those banners in his outdoor performances such as the procession called The Feast of the Blooming Apple Tree (Święto Kwitnącej Jabłoni) in Łąck.
New Stamps and First Day Covers
On 14 July 2009 ten years will have passed since the death of Władysław Hasior. Poczta Polska has prepared a series of four stamps featuring photographs of the artist's works - his assemblages: The Herald (Zwiastowanie) and The Fly (Mucha), and the Banner of the Green Poet (Sztandar Zielonej Poetki) and The Night Undressing Banner (Sztandar - Rozbieranie do snu). The first day covers feature the works entitled The Locust (Szarańcza) and The Sacrificial Banner (Sztandar Ofiarny). The issue is accompanied by an occasional date stamp, in use in Warsaw 1 Post Office.
Did you know?
Hasior's works were an inspiration for other artists, and were referred to in, among others, the poems of Stanisław Grochowiak. Also, Marek Grechuta entitled his series of short works "Hasior's Banners".
Thursday, April 2, 2009