Last year’s major exhbition at the POLIN museum in Warsaw — Frank Stella and Synagogues of Historic Poland — can now be visited online.
The exhibit, which ran from February 18-June 20, 2016, presented a collection of works by the contemporary American painter that were inspired by the Polish wooden synagogues destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust — his interest was sparked in 1970 by the seminal book Wooden Synagogues, by Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka.
In the exhibit, Stella’s works were displayed side by side with images from the Piechotkas’ book of the buildings that inspired them—the photographs and drawings of synagogues created for
research purposes during the interwar period, chiefly at the Department of Polish Architecture (ZAP) at the Warsaw Polytechnic Faculty of Architecture.
The Virtual Tour of the exhibition takes one through the exhibit — room by room — via panoramic digital technology.
The exhibit web site states that Stella
created experimental (both in terms of form and technique) large-scale wall reliefs that critics subsequently hailed as a turning point in his oeuvre. The Polish Village series has been exhibited internationally since the mid-1970s at major museums and galleries, captivating audiences with its exotic titles—references to towns and villages, such as Lanckorona (Lanckorun), Bogoria, Lunna Wola and Olkienniki, that before World War II were home to magnificent works of Jewish art and architecture. […]
Frank Stella’s “Polish” series is chiefly about an artistic process, whose final outcome is an aesthetic transfer of forms that might at first seem historically and culturally distant. For this very reason the exhibition is based on the principle of “work in progress,” presenting successive stages in the emergence of selected artworks: from freehand drawings to precise dimension drawings, small and large maquettes and models, all the way to large-scale collage reliefs which Stella produced in a number of different color variants. The exhibition is divided into five sections, each devoted to a different member of the Polish Village “family,” each bearing the name of the town where a given synagogue once stood. Here Stella’s works encounter their “ancestors”—prewar survey drawings and photographs of the same locations.