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Wacław Szpakowski (1883-1973) The Rhythmical lines

8 June – 31 July 2016

Opening: 8 June, at 5 p.m.

City Museum of Wrocław – Royal Palace

ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego 35

Opening hours:

Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Free admission to the exhibition


The exhibition rediscovers the oeuvre created in the first half of the twentieth century by the Wrocław-based artist – Wacław Szpakowski – who deserves a lasting position in contemporary art history. Each drawing by this pioneer of abstractionism is just one continuous line that creates stunning, quasi labyrinth-like, rhythmical form of visual and temporal character. 

Wacław Szpakowski – born in Warsaw in 1883; died in Wrocław in 1973 where he lived since 1945. The author of graphic “rhythmical lines” created in 1900-1951, and a forerunner of geometric abstraction in art. The first exhibition of his works took place in the Museum of Art in Łódź in 1978, already after the artist’s death. His first monographic exhibition was held in 1992 in Brussels (Atelier 340). Szpakowski’s works were presented at numerous exhibitions of Polish art organized abroad (Presences Polonaises, Centrum Pompidou, Paris 1983; Europa, Europa, Bonn 1994). Recently they were shown at the exhibition Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925 in the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2012/2013) summarizing the pioneering years of abstract art in the world.


This is a monographic exhibition of an artist practically unknown to the general public in Poland and yet, highly appreciated by twentieth-century art specialists as one of the pioneers of abstraction in art. Both the current presentation of his works and the monographic volume published by OKiS (the Culture and Art Centre in Wrocław) at the end of 2015 are meant to show Wacław Szpakowski’s oeuvre in its multiform aspects as he operated at the interface between art and science, visual arts and music. Wacław Szpakowski introduced an innovative conception of picture – his works can be defined as some kind of “temporal pictures”. For a viewer who sees them for the first time, it would be most appealing to precisely trace the course of the line so that one can experience their visual and temporal structure assuming a complicated and stunning, quasi labyrinth-like rhythmical form.


The exhibition – besides Wacław Szpakowski’s drawings, photographs and sketches – features archival material from the artist’s life and oeuvre, animations of his Rhythmical lines, as well as an interactive installation, by means of which it will be possible to create new drawings based on the mathematical algorithms used by Szpakowski. Specially enlarged replicas of some of his drawings will enable blind or visually impaired people to trace the continuous line that forms each of the drawings. On top of that, the exhibition will present the musical aspect of his works, i.e. compositions inspired by the drawings seen as musical scores.


The works featured at the exhibition come from the collection of the artist’s family, Museum of Arts in Łódź, Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, Galerie Berinson in Berlin, Galeria Starmach in Kraków, Galeria R in Poznań, and two private collections: Dariusz Bieńkowski’s and Krzysztof Bieńkowski’s collections in Łódź.


Curator: Elżbieta Łubowicz

Exhibition design: Łukasz Kujawski, Elżbieta Łubowicz

Musical compositions: Barbara Konopka

Animations: Łukasz Grynda

Interactive installation Algorithmic Lines: Paweł Janicki

Coordination: Agnieszka Chodysz-Foryś, Bronisław Kowalewski, Marta Przetakiewicz


The opening programme includes a world premiere concert

During the exhibition opening, the premiere performance of the compositions written by Adam Bałdych around the musical issues of “Rhythmical Lines”, such as dynamics, form, geometry, tempo, and repetitiveness will be given by a duo composed of Adam Bałdych – violin and Per Oddvar Johansen – drums.


Adam Bałdych

Born in 1986; violinist and composer; one of the most talented Polish jazz musicians. In 2009 he took part in the recording of album “Tribute to Seifert” together with internationally known jazz violinists, like Didier Lockwood, Pierre Blanchard, Jerry Goodman, Krzesimir Dębski, Christian Howese, and Jarosław Śmietana. He has released 6 solo albums; the recent one Bridges was recorded with Helge Lien Trio (2015). Since 2012 under contract with the prestigious German record label ACT Music.


Per Oddvar Johansen

Born in 1968; one of the top Norwegian drummers. Attended the Trøndelag (Trondheim) Music Conservatory in the years 1989–1992. Since he turned professional in 1990, he has performed numerous concerts worldwide, recorded over 80 albums and won Spellemannsprisen (Norwegian Grammy’s Award). Currently, he is a member of the Norwegian music group Helge Lien Trio. His new solo album was released by Edition Records on 25 March 2016.


Concert venue: City Museum of Wrocław, Old Town Hall, Grand Hall

Time: 7 p.m.

Admission free but limited. Free tickets are available at Dolnośląskie Centrum Informacji Kulturalnej (Rynek-Ratusz 24) on 2–3, 6–7 June, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Curator guided tour: 11 June (Saturday) and 16 June (Saturday), 12 a.m.

Closing event: 30 June 2016, 12 a.m.


Further information:,


The project is part of the Visual Arts Programme of Wrocław 2016 European Capital of Culture and subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

Organizers: Wrocław 2016 European Capital of Culture, Culture and Art Centre in Wrocław (OKiS) – Culture Institution of Lower Silesia Province Government,

Co-organizers: National Forum of Music, Impart Festival Centre, Lower Silesia Arts Festival created by OKiS, City Museum of Wrocław

Strategic partner: KGHM Polska Miedź S. A.

Media partners: TVP Kultura, TVP Wrocław, Radio Wrocław Kultura, Magazine „Szum”, „Format”, „Odra”, „Dyskurs”, Rynek i Sztuka,,,


The exhibition ”Wacław Szpakowski (1883–1973). Rhythmical Lines” is accompanied by an exhibition “Pulse of Life” featuring works of Wacław’s daughter Anna Szpakowska-Kujawska corresponding to her Father’s drawings. Organized by the Culture and Art Centre in Wrocław (OKiS).

City Museum of Wrocław – Old City Hall, Galeria Patio

8 June – 31 July 2016. Opening: 8 June, at 6.30 p.m.



Click to enlarge a photo

Wacław Szpakowski in his flat at 2/4 Widok Street in Wrocław, 1948, photo:  Andrzej Wierzchowiecki, property of artist’s family Wacław Szpakowski, „Rhythmical Lines” –  A4, 1923–1924, drawing, property of artist’s family Wacław Szpakowski, „Rhythmical Lines” –  B5, ca. 1925, drawing, property of artist’s family Wacław Szpakowski, „Rhythmical Lines” –  C4, ca. 1924, drawing, property of artist’s family Wacław Szpakowski, „Rhythmical Lines” –  F2, 1925–1926, drawing, property of artist’s family Wacław Szpakowski, „Rhythmical Lines” –  F3, ca. 1925, drawing, property of artist’s family



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