Wiesław Smużny, documentation of the symbolic installation Heliotropes (Heliotropy)
photographs, dried sunflowers
Environmental actions, initiated in the 1970s during the so-called “Lucim Action” (“Akcja Lucim”), were highly socially engaged and experimental in their approach. Post-avant-garde works of Wiesław Smużny are still relevant, and can therefore be continued. One such project, Cultivation of Heliotropes for the 888th anniversary of Toruń 2121, was launched in 2009 and became a permanent feature of the landscape surrounding the Centre of Contemporary Art. The titular heliotropes, or sunflowers, are plants symbolically bound with Copernican ideas. In cultural references, inflorescences are often compared to the face of the sun.
NATURE FOR ART
The said art campaign has become a part of the city, but also a natural feature, appropriating nature for the art. Dozens of sunflowers sown every year along the façade of the Centre of Contemporary Art are a testament to the existence of intelligent art, self-commenting and at the same time inviting the ordinary passer-by to reflect. It is also an important artistic accent breaking the barrier between art and the institution, space and the traditional exhibition or gallery area. The work from the Centre’s collection documents activities which has been created within the institution for many years, and as such is an archival testament to contemporary art.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Wiesław Smużny graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the UMK in Toruń. Between 1972 and 2000, he worked at the Department of Artistic Pedagogy of the UMK, and in 2000–2015 at the university’s Intermedia Department. Since 2013, he is a full professor of fine arts. He is the author of numerous cultural campaigns in the Lucim space, as well as individual and collective exhibitions. “His artistic interests relate to art in the post-art age. He considers his most important achievements to be: popularising the avant-garde activity of groups of young artists in the Flying Gallery (Galeria Latająca) and the CO Gallery (Galeria CO) in 1972–1973; post-conceptualism in graphics – a mental matrix in the record of the programme Magic of Numbers (original in 1972–1978, reconstructions in 1990–1992), definition of the idea and co-editing the programme of activity in social art, permanent implementation of the idea of social art in Lucim from 1980 until this day; expanding the ideas and media of contemporary graphics with a mental matrix, social matrix, xerography and body-printing: transparent, interactive, soft body print, double-sided print, figurally fitted and spatial installation of body print. In the forty-four years of teaching at the UMK, he authored programmes and taught classes in eighteen subjects, including methods of disseminating art culture, visual structures, intermedia, interdisciplinary art, and art topicalities. (Raport 2015, Toruń 2016, p. 83.)
Purchased from own resources (2017)
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