9.01.2022 - online

Images After: Wilhelm Sasnal’s Uses and Abuses of Abstraction

Shoah (Las)/Shoah (A Forest), Wilhelm Sasnal, olej na płótnie, 2003, fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

Taking as point of departure Sasnal's iconic works such as “Shoah”/”Forest” (2003) the presentation by Kasia Redzisz (artistic director of the Kanal-Centre Pompidou in Brussels) will track the artist's use of abstraction. The lecture will be an opportunity to learn more about the workshop of one of the greatest Polish contemporary painters. 

  • 9 January 2022 (Sunday), 20.00 CET/ 2:00PM EST / 11:00AM PST / 9:00PM Israel
  • Broadcast in English on POLIN Museum YouTube channel >>
  • Moderation of the lecture: Mark Benjamin Godfrey.

In Sasnal’s work, the real subject is often invisible, visually removed. He is not an abstract painter, yet neither is he a realist. Most of his abstract or at least ostensibly abstract works created over the past two decades are strongly rooted in reality - one that is faulty, banal, and lacking. Abstraction as metaphor can stand for this deficiency. But Sasnal’s painting is not allegorical. He employs abstraction as a method of representation, which enhances the work’s narrative aspect. Seemingly marginal, abstraction intensifies his storytelling by creating space, where the act of seeing takes place and the viewer’s response comes into play.

Kasia Redzisz is Artistic Director at the Kanal-Centre Pompidou in Brussels. In recent years she has been Senior Curator at Tate Liverpool, responsible for the programme of exhibitions, collection displays new commissions and international collaborations. Prior to that she worked at Tate Modern (2010-15), where she curated a number of exhibitions and film screenings. As part of Tate’s international acquisitions team, she contributes to the collection strategy working closely with Russia and Eastern Europe Acquisition Committee. Between 2008 and 2015 she was Director of Open Art Projects, organisation focusing on experimental art commissions. Redzisz has edited and contributed to a number of exhibition catalogues and published her texts in magazines such as Frieze, Mousse and Tate Etc. In 2019 she was a curator of the inaugural exhibition at Muzeum Susch. She currently serves as curator of the fourth edition of the Art Encounters Biennial scheduled to open later this year.

Mark Benjamin Godfrey is a British art historian, critic, and curator. He was previously senior curator of international art for Tate Modern, where he co-curated the 2017 exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power and most recently organised retrospectives on Franz West and Olafur Eliasson. Godfrey was first a lecturer in art history and theory at the Slade School of Fine Art. In 2007, he joined the Tate Modern as curator of contemporary art. In 2017, Godfrey served on the jury of the 57th Venice Biennale. In 2019, he curated an exhibition on Franz West that included around two hundred works such as abstract sculptures, furniture, and collages. Later that year he organised a retrospective on Olafur Eliasson.


The lecture accompanying Wilhelm Sasnal’s exhibition "Such a Landscape" at POLIN Museum. The lecture is organized within the Global Education Outreach Program.

This program was made possible thanks to Taube Philanthropies, the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.

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