IGOR MITORAJ - A RETURN TO THE HOMELAND (Igor Mitoraj - powrót do ojczyzny)
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At the turn of 2003 three large Polish cities featured an exhibition of the more recent sculptress and drawings by Igor Mitoraj. Plein air shows of monumental bronze sculptures were displayed in the Old Town Market Square in Poznan (September - October 2003), the Main Market Square in Cracow (October 2003 - January 2004), and the courtyard of the Royal Castle and Castle Square in Warsaw (February 2004); the smaller scale sculptures (marble, bronze, terracotta and cast iron) and drawings were shown in museums interiors: the National Museum in Poznan, the International Culture Centre in Cracow, and three galleries in Warsaw: the Royal Castle Library, the Kordegarda and the Presidential Palace. Apart from exhibits which are the artist's property the shows included several works from private collections already displayed in Polish museums. The open air exposition demonstrated that monumental sculptures are indispensable elements of the urban landscape and a factor which not only uniquely arranges its nearest surrounding, but also stimulates certain behaviour of the residents, such as Eros bendato, whose interior could be not only admired but also entered. The effort of bringing the exhibits (a total of almost a hundred) over from Italy, and their subsequent assembly entailed tackling a number of organisational and technical challenges. Undoubtedly the greatest endeavour was associated with the transport, unloading and open air exposition of more than ten monumental sculptures - the largest (Centauro, Gambe alate) being almost five metres high, and the heaviest (Tyndaro screpolato) weighing approximately four tons. Igor (actually: Jerzy Igor) Mitoraj, born in 1944, started his artistic education at the Art Secondary School in Bielsko-Biala. In 1963 he began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow under the supervision of Tadeusz Kantor, who left a significant imprint on his further artistic evolution. In 1968 Mitoraj left for Paris and then lived in Mexico and New York. A one-man show held in 1976 by the La Hune gallery in Paris won him acclaim; subsequently, he worked in a studio in the famous Bateau-Lavoir. From the 1980s Mitoraj resides and works in Pietrasanta, located near the Carrara quarries. His works were shown at almost 200 exhibitions: the Grand Palais and Musee d'Art Moderne in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Pantheon and Castello d'Angelo in Rome, the Olympian Museum in Lausanne, Museo d'Arte Moderna in Lugano, the Boboli Gardens in Florence, the XLII Biannual in Venice and the Expo in Seville. Many of his works are on permanent display on assorted continents: i. a. the Abuta Sculpture Park in Hokkaido, the Coca-Cola Foundation in Atlanta, the Olympian park in Lausanne, and Le Defense in Paris. The inauguration of Mitoraj fountains - the Centaur in Milan and Dea Roma in Piazza Monte Grappa in Rome - IGOR MITORAJ, became veritable artistic events. For a large group of Polish art lovers the exhibitions of works by I. Mitoraj, an artist almost forgotten in his native land, and the accompanying interest of the media, publications, interviews and meetings with the public created an opportunity for becoming acquainted with his oeuvre.
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