Biennale of Spatial Forms in Elbląg

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The Biennale of Spatial Forms in Elbląg was an official artistic event held regularly in the years 1965-1973, organized and sponsored by Zamech Mechanical Works. The originator of the Biennale was Gerard Kwiatkowski, a local artist, organizer of cultural events, and a founder of the El Gallery at Zamech. There were five editions of Biennale, out of which each had a different form and only the first two actually involved spatial forms. The 1st Biennale was organized between 22 July and 22 August 1965. The event featured 50 Polish artists, most of whom were painters, and several foreign scholars.

The nature of the 1st Biennale of Spatial Forms correlated with other, typical for that time, official artistic events like symposia, plein-air shows, and biennale that were often patroned by the government, in accordance with Polish cultural politics, on so-called "regained territories". The Elbląg's Biennale propagated the idea of integrating art and industry, a notion that had its roots in constructivism, but which in the 1960s was adopted rather superficially and instrumentally for the Communist propaganda. Texts accompanying the events expressed appreciation for civilizational and industrial achievements of the socialist state, while the artists' role was that of decorators. For the majority of artists these ideas had nothing to do with an actual need to define a new social role of art, even though a certain fascination with modernity and technology, linked to the post-war economic growth, shaped imagination of Polish artists in the 1960s. For most participants the most important thing was the possibility of an execution of their works, not ideology.

Zamech Mechanical Works provided the artists with needed materials (metal and scrap) and technical assistance in bringing the designed forms to life. In return, the artists were to produce spatial forms as a gift to the city of Elblag. The structures were to be developed on factory floors with the help of welders and workers, whose participation could be described as social action. As a result, about 30 objects were created in Elbląg. (Source)