Wrocław — a city in the Recovered Territories, which before the Second World War had nearly one million inhabitants, for decades could not be rebuilt after being destroyed in the Siege of Breslau. Out in these fascinating wild fields situated at the edge of a communist country where various cultures met, in a spirit of freedom and independence, artists have created their own original microcosm with bold experiments and international cooperation with partners from both sides of the Iron Curtain at its heart.

The exhibition presents works of art, films, documentary photographs, objets d’art, and recordings — nearly 500 works of visual arts, architecture, urbanism, theatre, film, design, and everyday life of Wrocław since the 1960s until the present.

The exhibition narration starts in the mid-sixties and it is connected with two great art visionaries moving to Wrocław: Jerzy Grotowski, the founder of the Laboratory Theatre, and Jerzy Ludwiński, the author of models of cultural institutions like Museum of Current Art and the founder of Mona Lisa Gallery. Wrocław is a city where Polish conceptualism and concrete poetry under Stanisław Dróżdż’s leadership started. Here artists like Jerzy Rosołowicz, Zdzisław Jurkiewicz, Jan Chwałczyk, Wanda Gołkowska, Natalia LL and Andrzej Lachowicz, Romuald and Anna Kutera worked. In Wrocław, next to the Laboratory Theatre, Helmut Kajzar and Kazimierz Braun, who worked with Tadeusz Różewicz, experimented with dramatic form. In the 1970s, the Museum of Architecture held exhibitions of utopia projects Terra where works of young artists like Arata Isozaki, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Tadao Ando, Rem Koolhaas — now world famous architects were shown. Among the graduates of the Higher School of Fine Arts in the city of Wrocław one can find so-called generation of Wrocław School of Posters with Jan Sawka, Jerzy Czerniawski, Jan Jaromir Aleksiun, and Eugeniusz Get-Stankiewicz. It is the Feature Film Studio in Wrocław where Andrzej Wajda made Ashes and Diamonds, Wojciech Jerzy Has — The Saragossa Manuscript, Agnieszka Holland — Screen Tests, and Jerzy Żuławski started working with On the Silver Globe. International meetings during Jazz nad Odrą Festival, the Festival of Open Theatre organised by Kalambur Theatre, or workshops run by the Laboratory are but few events that contribute to the image of open Wrocław. In the 1980s, the tradition of street happenings took on a new character through the actions of the Orange Alternative, the musical performances by Kormorany, as well as the artistic ‘situations’ created by LUXUS.

The exhibition Wild West is not a story of the art of Wrocław. It is a story about this special city seen through the art created there. It is a story about a city with towers of gothic churches, buildings designed by Max Berg, Hans Poelzig, Erich Mendelsohn, or Hans Scharoun, where the newly arriving Poles have brought new values and most of all, new life.

Artists:
Jan Jaromir Aleksiun, Stanisław Antosz and Katarzyna Chierowska (Antosz and Andzia), Gabor Attalai, Roel Backaert, Paolo Barrile, Krzysztof M. Bednarski, László Beke, Marianna Bocian, Włodzimierz Borowski, Dariusz Brygier, Olaf Brzeski, Cezary Chrzanowski, Jan Chwałczyk, Ewa Ciepielewska, Robin Crozier, Paweł Czepułkowski, Jerzy Czerniawski, Rineke Dijkstra, Michał Diament, Zbigniew Dłubak, Jean-Marie Drot, Stanisław Dróżdż, Antoni Dzieduszycki, Hervé Fischer, Karolina Freino, Eugeniusz Get-Stankiewicz, Artur „Gouy” Gołacki, Wanda Gołkowska, Zbigniew Gostomski, Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak, Klaus Groh, Nicolas Grospierre, Bożena Grzyb-Jarodzka, Oskar Hansen, Władysław Hasior, Zdzisław Holuka, Rafał Jakubowicz, Jacek „Ponton” Jankowski, Paweł Jarodzki, Mariusz Jodko, Zdzisław Jurkiewicz, Koji Kamoji, Tadeusz Kantor, Małgorzata Kazimierczak, Mirosław Emil Koch, Krzysztof Konieczny, Bogdan Konopka, Tadeusz Konwicki, Jerzy Kosałka, Marzenna Kosińska, Barbara Kozłowska, Grzegorz Królikiewicz, Marlena Kudlicka, Anna Kutera, Romuald Kutera, Natalia LL, Piotr Lachman, Andrzej Lachowicz, Suzy Lake, Jacek Lalak, Zbigniew Libera, Witold Lipiński, Witold Liszkowski, Bogusław Litwiniec, Halina Litwiniec, Jerzy Ludwiński, Luxus Group, Zbigniew Makarewicz, Daniel Malone, Arkadiusz Marczyński, Dóra Maurer, Krzysztof Meissner, Maria Michałowska, Bogusław Michnik, Karel Miler, Lech Mrożek, Opal L. Nations, Roland Nicolaus, Ernest Niemczyk, Z. Nowak, Zbigniew Olchowik, Piotr Olszański, Zbigniew Paluszak, Stanisław Pater, Géza Perneczky, Anna Płotnicka, Małgorzata Potocka, Karol Radziszewski, Robert Rehfeldt, Andrzej Rogowski, Tadeusz Rolke, Wacław Ropiecki, Jerzy Rosołowicz, Robert Rumas, Andrzej Sapija, Wiesław Sąsiadek, Jan Sawka, Carolee Schneemann, Allan Sekula, Alexander Sikora, Skalpel, Krzysztof Skarbek, Eugeniusz Smoliński, Michael Snow, Kama Sokolnicka, Zdzisław Sosnowski, Henryk Stażewski, Petr Štembera, Tomasz „Mniamek” Stępień, Andrzej and Krystyna Stoga, Bronisław Szubzda, Tomasz Szwed, Miroljub Todorović, Endre Toth, VALIE EXPORT, Krzysztof Wałaszek, Adam Wawrzyniak, Torgeir Wethal, Piotr Wieczorek, Ryszard Wojtyłło, Paul Woodrow, Pierre Vandrepote, Krzysztof Zarębski.
Objects and films loaned by:
BWA Warszawa, National Film Archive, Galeria Bielska BWA, Entropia Gallery, Foksal Gallery, The Grotowski Institute, Kalambur Theatre Archive, L’Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), Lower Silesian Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts (Wrocław), Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, Odin Teatret, Film Studio Kadr, TVP3 Warszawa, TVP3 Wrocław, Wytwórnia Filmów Oświatowych w Łodzi, Ossolineum and Jolanta Bielańska, Katarzyna Chierowska, Jan Chwałczyk, Marcin Cichy, Osman Djajadisastra, Anna Dróżdż, Jacek „Ponton“ Jankowski, Mariusz Jodko, Alina Jurkiewicz-Maluga, Mirosław Emil Koch, Krzysztof Konieczny, Jerzy Kosałka, Marzenna Kosińska, Anna Kutera, Romuald Kutera, Natalia Lach-Lachowicz, Jacek Lizurej, Zbigniew Makarewicz, Daniel Malone, Lech Mrożek, Izabela Olejnik, Ryszard Pater, Paweł Piotrowicz, Andrzej Rogowski, Robert Rumas, Zdzisław Sosnowski, Krzysztof Wałaszek, Piotr Wierzbicki.

AN EXHIBITION ORGANISED BY WROCŁAW CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM
held as a part of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016 programme

The exhibition has been already shown at:
– Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (June 19–September 13, 2015),
– Kunsthalle/Hala umenia, Košice, Slovakia (October 6–November 15, 2015),
– Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany (March 5–May 8, 2016),
– Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb (June 16–August 15, 2016).

Exhibition commissioner: Dorota Monkiewicz, Head of Wrocław Contemporary Museum

Exhibition arrangement: Robert Rumas

Curators: Michał Duda, Anka Herbut, Anna Mituś, Paweł Piotrowicz, Adriana Prodeus, Sylwia Serafinowicz, Piotr Stasiowski

Co-ordination: Jola Bielańska

Co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

Sponsors: Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, National Forum of Music, ECoC 2016