1st Symposium of Artists and Scientists in Puławy

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1st Symposium of Artists and Scientists “Art in the Changing World” (I Sympozjum Artystów Plastyków i Naukowców w Puławach) was held in two parts, from 2 to 23 August 1966 at the Puławy Nitrogen Works (Zakłady Azotowe), and from 17 September to 15 October 1965 at BWA, Lublin, Poland. The initiator and organiser of what was intended to be a cyclical event was art critic and theoretician Jerzy Ludwiński.

The concept and title of the event referred to a popular at the time idea of bringing art, technology, science and industry together. Besides their propaganda-like character that artists cleverly used to get the officials' support, these ideas also demonstrated the prevailing in the 1960s fascination with technology, cybernetics, new scientific concepts, and their impact on everyday life.

As in case of other events of that type hosted in big factories (e.g., Biennale of Spatial Forms in Elbląg), the artists were provided with working space, industrial materials, and the workers' assistance. During the month that the artists worked on new structures, the critics and scientists held discussions and debates on the role of art in the face of society's needs and the growing role of industry and technology in society's life. During those meetings a group of critics from the Foksal Gallery, which included Mariusz Tchorek, Anka Ptaszkowska, and Wiesław Borowski, read "Ogólna Teoria miejsca" and Włodzimierz Borowski performed his 4th Syncretistic Show entitled Furnace Offering.

About 40 artists participated in the exhibition, among whom were Jerzy Bereś, Włodzimierz Borowski, Jan Chwałczyk, Jerzy Fedorowicz, Wanda Gołkowska, Tadeusz Kantor, Grzegorz Kowalski, Edward Krasiński, Lilianna Lewicka, Henryk Morel, Andrzej Pawłowski, Ryszard Winiarski and Jan Ziemski. Two exhibitions were organized: pre-plein-air (opened 2 August in Zakłady Azotowe) and post-plein-air (17 September - 15 October 1965) in BWA in Lublin.

Grzegorz Kowalski, one of the symposium's participants, later wrote: "To some extent, the symposia held in Elbląg and Puławy fulfilled the myth of participating in culture and establishing beachheads in mass culture. Workers and technical intelligentsia from the plants which hosted the symposia, participated actively in our work. This gave us the illusory feeling that they understood art, that they both needed and accepted it. In time it occurred to me that for them art was a mirage which brought a momentary feeling of festivity. Then, traces of artists' activities were left abandoned, covered by dust and rust". (Source)

  • Puławy 66: I Sympozjum Artystów Plastyków i Naukowców, ed. Anna Maria Leśniewska, Lublin: Wydawnictwo-Drukarnia L-PRINT, Towarzysztwo Przyjaciół Puław, 2006, 128 pp. (Polish)/(English)
  • Anna Maria Leśniewska, "Puławy 1966. Sztuka w zmieniającym się świecie", Podkowiański Magazyn Kulturalny 58-59, 2008. (Polish)