Piotr Lisowski (1982) is a curator, an art historian, and an initiator and co-organizer of the Jerzy Ludwiński Archive at the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum. He was born in Kielce, studied art history at the Faculty of Humanities at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. He also completed a post-diploma programme in Curatorial Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Since 2007 he worked as a curator in the Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) in Toruń and since 2016 he works in theWroclaw Contemporary Museum. He co-created a private Love Gallery (pl. Miłość), which operated between 2014-2017 in Torun.
In 2011, Lisowski curated an exhibition entitled „Filling the blanks” (pl. Wypełniając puste pola) in the CoCA devoted to Jerzy Ludwiński – a historian, theoretician, art critic, whose ideas greatly influenced the Polish neo-avant-garde of the 1960s and the 1970s. The exhibition was based on the archival materials, which allowed the audience to follow Ludwiński’s critical and curatorial practices, and strategies. As a basis of the exhibition served two facts: the Current Art Museum program, proclaimed by Ludwiński in 1966, and the 8th Artists’ and Art Theoreticians’ Symposium in Osieki in 1970 – an event during which Ludwiński gave his famous speech on post-artistic epoch.
The exhibition in Torun succeeded in reminding of Ludwiński and his ideas. Soon after the event, Lisowski started to work on a concept of the Ludwiński Archive which found its place in the newly-built Contemporary Museum in Wroclaw. Works on the Archive had been conducted between 2012-2013, however Lisowski was hired by the MMW yet in late 2016. As a curator (e.g. in CoCA in Torun, Wroclaw Contemporary Museum) Lisowski organised numerous exhibitions concerning the art of the 1970s and the 1980s, including i.e. the Zero-61 group, Jacek Kryszkowski, the Exchange Gallery or the Wroclaw independent music scene.
- Wrocław, Poland
Olena Oleksandrivna Lodzynska is the main curator of the Sixtiers Museum in Kyiv. She is a historian, born in 1962, thus she remembers the general political and social climate in which the sixtiers were operating. She was herself involved in oppositionist activity, partly due to a run in with the Soviet authorities in 1982. Both she and her husband were dismissed from university; he for conduct unbecoming a Soviet student (code then for “nationalism”) and she for being married to him. He was implicated in the involvement in an underground organization, uncovered by the state security services. Lodzynska noted that this, in principle, amounted to a group of students getting together informally to discuss interesting topics, nothing more than that. Nonetheless, he was only able to complete his degree after independence. Lodzynska was able to return to her studies after one year, as an official reprimand for political infractions was never written about her. They became members of RUKH—organized first as a civic-political organization called the People's Movement of Ukraine for Reconstruction during Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika—and then registered as a political party in 1990, to participate in the first semi-competitive elections held in the Soviet Union. When asked about her relationship to the Soviet regime, Lodzynska responded that it was negative, and that to expound beyond that would take us on a very long detour.
After his release, he could only publish under pseudonyms. He mainly wrote crime novels and light fiction. Only in the 1970s did his situation improve. But when he protested the forced expatriation of Wolf Biermann in 1976, he was classified as a "negative and hostile" author by State Security and in 1978 the second printing of his novel Es geht seinen Gang oder Mühen in unseren Ebenen [It Takes Its Course or Difficulties in Our Plains] was stopped with flimsy reasoning. In 1979 Loest left the Writer's Association and eventually applied to emigrate. He wrote to the GDR Ministry for Culture that he could no longer work as an artist under these circumstances.
In 1981 Loest moved to West Germany, where as chairman of the German Writer's Association, he continued fighting East German cultural policies and censorship. He returned in 1990 after being completely rehabilitated by the GDR’s highest court.
His depiction of the autumn of 1989 in his novel Nikolai Church, later adapted into a film, heavily influenced today’s image of the peaceful revolution in the GDR. Loest received countless awards including Honorary Citizenship of Leipzig (1996), Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (1997), Grand Cross of Merit of Germany (1999) and the German National Prize (2009). He committed suicide in 2013.
- Leipzig , Deutschland
Roger Loewig was an autodidact painter, illustrator, and writer based in Berlin, East and West. Born in Silesia, he spent his youth in occupied Poland until 1945, when he fled to Eastern Germany (first in the Soviet-occupied territory, later GDR). Here he took on vocational training as a teacher for Russian, a profession which he exercised starting 1953. In addition to his teaching position in Russian, German and history, until the beginning of the 1960s, he actively engaged in his creative activities in East Berlin, where he was based. The application to officially join the Union of Artists in 1962, which would grant him the status as a freelance artist in the GDR, was initially denied.
Following the first private exhibition organised in 1963, inspired by the recent political events such as the construction of the Berlin Wall, the artist came under Stasi surveillance. This eventually led to his imprisonment potentially for ten years being accused of 'treacherous propaganda’. The accusation brought against him was motivated by the themes addressed by his artworks, namely to have taken a stand against the Berlin Wall and state organised violence. Loewig was ransomed with the support of the Protestant Church from West Germany after one year, yet remained in the GDR first.
After his release in 1964, the artist fully emerged in his creative activities, however, left Berlin East often for the countryside. He was also prohibited to exercise his teaching activities. It was only in 1965 that Loewig was officially granted the artist status by joining the Union of Artists. Despite that, his first exhibition after the release was organised at the 'Ateliergemeinschaft Erfurt’. This was an exhibition space since 1963 which actively facilitated the collaboration between painters and graphic artists who denied socialist realism as an artistic form of expression. The exhibitions of the atelier have been extensively organised underground in private apartments, banned from the public eye.
Starting the mid-1960s his activity was strongly supported by the close group of friends established in Bonn (1966), who throughout the regime facilitated contacts, private purchases of his artworks and exhibitions in Western Germany and internationally.
Beginning of the 1970s, Loewig's 'exile’ to Berlin West was eventually granted. Based in Berlin West starting 1972, he carried on with his artistic activity, joining the 'Malerpoeten' [Painter Poets] group of artists. The artist, also a poet, published his first prose and literature volumes in Western Germany during the 1980s. Furthermore, the artist explored international opportunities to exhibit the artworks in Europe, both East and West, and in the United States.
Following the fall of the Berlin wall and the German reunification in 1990, Loewig remained skeptical towards political developments. Consequently, he took on numerous travels in Central and Eastern European countries. In 1992 the artist exhibited his lithographs under the name 'Epitafia’ in the State Museum in Auschwitz-Birkenau, being the first German artist to exhibit his artworks in the former concentration camp.
The artist was awarded in October 1997 for his lifetime achievements the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, first category. Roger Loewig died shortly afterward on November fourth in Berlin.
- Berlin, Germany