In 2021 the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the institution. The beginnings of the presence of contemporary sculpture in Józef Brandt’s estate in Orońsko go back to the mid-60s, when a group of 13 artists working in the Kielce quarries showed their works at a post-workshop exhibition in the Orońsko park. The Orońsko area abounds in sculpting material, the artistic aura around this place and sympathetic approach of authorities gave rise to an idea of creating in this place a permanent technological base for sculptors’ community.
However, the institution – Centre of Polish Sculpture (CRP), renamed in 1985 as the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, was not established until 1981. The programme plans of the new institution of culture were extraordinarily progressive in the context of contemporary institutional reflection. They involved setting up the Centre for Sculptors’ Creative Work, the Centre of Documentation and Information, The Centre for the Studies of Sculpture Exhibitions, Centre for Artistic Collection and Exhibitions, Centre for Social Cultural Services and the Administrative and Financial Centre. The organizational rules and regulations of the ‘Museum – Centre’ included the idea of combining the place of creative work with documenting, academic and exhibition tasks, as well as with social activities. The Centre appeared in the period of the ‘first’ Solidarity, which explains the high priority given to social aspects of the institutional activity, expressed in designing a separate department. What draws attention is also considering scholarly reflection on sculpture exhibitions, which was much ahead of the time. In the period following the introduction of the martial law in Poland, the implementation of this policy encountered critical difficulties, but forty years later most of these tasks are implemented by the present CRP.
Forty years of the Centre’s activity have been accompanied by a huge investment programme. All the buildings within the compound of the Centre have been revitalized or built from scratch: palace, granary, stables, coach house, annex, chapel and orangery. In 1992 the construction of the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture was completed. The collection of contemporary sculpture has been built for years. After the political breakthrough in 1989, the CRP Programme Council was established. Its first chairperson was Prof. Jan Berdyszak, who defined the direction of the programme activity of the Centre in the 90s. What became its crucial determinant was the particular care of the youngest generation of sculptors. In 1992 the first edition of the Young Triennial was held. Around the CRP a whole community of artists and theoreticians appeared, and cooperation with art academies and partner institutions was successfully established.
The present day of the Centre involves attention to the preservation and enrichment of the legacy of the four decades of its activity. Redecoration and modernization of sculpting studios was a continuation of the investment programme. At present a new building of the woodworking shop is being built, thanks to which rooms in the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture will be vacated for the storeroom designed for studying sculpture.
What makes a sign of new times is the CRP’s own programme Sculpture in the Public Space for the Niepodległa, resulting from contemporary sensitivity to the quality of shared spaces. The aim of the programme is working out new standards and practices in the public space in Poland by situating in it a larger number of works of a high sculptural level.
Additionally, the Centre develops its activity in the virtual space. We have started the process of 3D digitalization of works from our collection, we have prepared virtual tours around the exhibition of the CRP collection, launched a new website and performed the necessary amendments in the scope of the visual identification of the Centre – both regarding the logo and the information boards in the park. We have digitalized and provided public access to the material for studies of the early history of the CRP in the form of almost 20,000 archival negatives. [link]
We start the celebrations of the Jubilee by opening the exhibition of an outstanding Polish-American artist – Ursula von Rydingsvard (August – September). It will be followed by:
- Gala convention of the editorial board of the Sculpture Quarterly ‘Orońsko’ on 15 September, bringing together the Quarterly’s distinguished authors.
- Gala session of the CRP Programme Council on 17 September, connected with a conference ‘Site in Real Space and in Art. Site as Sense’, for which we have invited the current and previous members of the Programme Council from the years 1989–2021.
- Open Convention of Artists on 18 September for artists, graduates and students of art schools.
- Birthday of the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko on 19 September. On this day we invite the Orońsko public to celebrate with us.
Please, follow our internet website and social media profiles, where we will be gradually publishing detailed information about our celebrations.