Warsaw’s fast-growing art scene has exploded in recent years with various independent galleries and art spaces opening, dedicated to promoting Polish artists on the global art scene. A must-see event is the annual Warsaw Gallery Weekend. It offers a rich program of exhibitions and cultural encounters. Read on to discover the top 10 contemporary art galleries in Warsaw.
Galeria Program was founded in collaboration with the Foundation for Promoting Contemporary Art and serves as its exhibition space. With goals like supporting culturally relevant projects and initiatives, promoting young artists and new artistic developments as well as widening access to contemporary art, Galeria Program has had its hands full with over 80 exhibitions. It welcomes all forms of artistic dialogue, including fine art, film, performance and encourages social impact projects. In addition to organizing collective and individual exhibitions, Galeria Program also takes part in international art fairs, such as Preview Berlin and Volta. As of now, it represents ten intriguing young artists, including Dorota Kozieradzka, Michał Szuszkiewicz and Monika Misztal.
Before moving to a large exhibition space in central Warsaw in 2013, lokal_30 was based in a small Warsaw apartment (number 30) for seven years and so gained its name. Although most kinds of artistic projects are welcome here, including but not limited to performances, discussions and social actions, lokal_30 is particularly interested in promoting contemporary video art and installations. Innovative and eclectic, lokal_30 has exhibited works by Zuzanna Janin, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Maciej Kurak and many others. Between 2009 and 2011, the gallery also opened a temporary space in London as part of the lokal_30_warszawa_london project to acquaint the British public with artists from Poland and Central Europe. A similar project is planned to open soon in a different location.
Electrifying, stimulating, compelling. Galeria aTak picks its artists well. The works hung on the pristine white walls often provide a stark contrast to the gallery’s modest décor. Some of the most recent exhibitions have questioned the status of painting in the modern world, analysed the aesthetics of war and examined the relation between centre and periphery. Owned by the Polish Modern Art Foundation, it was launched in 2007 with a view to showcasing contemporary Polish talent. English-speaking visitors might be interested in the gallery’s publications and catalogues, many of which are available in English.
Young artists take center stage at the m2 (m squared) gallery, home to both talented students and established young professionals. This ethos translates onto m2’s other activities. It seeks to represent emerging Polish art not only nationally, but also on an international level by cooperating with galleries abroad. Some of Poland’s most promising young artists such as Róża Litwa or Michał Frydrych made their debut there. With an intense and varied schedule, Galeria m2 exhibits exciting new work every couple of months.
Foksal’s location, tucked away in an annexe to the Zamoyski Castle, is the only thing about the gallery that blends into the background. Since its launch in 1966, it has been the place to see and exhibit contemporary art in Warsaw. The child of art critics and artists alike, Foksal encourages radical modernity in art and pure creative freedom. As such, it has represented a number of revolutionary Polish artists, including Henryk Stażewski, Stanisław Dróżdż and Edward Krasiński. Importantly, artists, not managers, have always run the gallery. Their philosophy, embodied by Foksal’s exhibitions, is to offer artists a space to exercise their creativity free from the bounds of the art market’s commercial demands. Perhaps that’s what has made Foksal so important to Poland’s art scene.
A relative newcomer to Warsaw’s contemporary art scene, Le Guern was founded in 2004. Since then, it has focused on following artistic trends and working with them, as opposed to imposing its own interpretations. Dynamic and genuine, the gallery prides itself on its appreciation of Poland’s current artistic landscape and eagerly explores all experimental and traditional forms of artistic expression. Having displayed both established and young creative minds, it is home to several talented artists, such as Zofia Kulik, Tadeusz Rolke and Jarosław Modzelewski, Le Guern regularly organises external projects and publishes exhibition catalogues to accompany its activities
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