Contemporary International Tapestry
January 11 -- May 10, 2015
Our new HAM blog is highlighting many of the world-renowned artists whose work can be found in our Contemporary International Tapestry exhibition. This time, our blog features Ewa Latkowska-Żychska. The exhibition runs until May 10.
Ewa Latkowska-Żychska finds inspiration for her tapestry art in the beautiful landscapes that surround her.
“Every week I depart from Warsaw — the city where I live with my family,” she writes. “Landscapes mark my travel. Halfway between Łódź and Warsaw lies Bełchów. I have a patch of meadow and a hundred birches there, which grow around my cottage. I am planning to spend more time observing landscape from one viewpoint.”
Latkowska-Żychska emerged from a post-World War II Poland that had placed a premium on reviving its art and culture. For several centuries, Poland had a very strong tapestry tradition when various studios would create entire series of tapestries for the castles in the Kingdom.
When World War II erupted, the armies from Germany and the Soviet Union swept through Poland, and leveled it.
One of the first things the Polish government did after the war ended was to rebuild its culture. “Think about that for a moment,” said Carol K. Russell, curator of the Contemporary International Tapestry exhibition. “The country was leveled; there was almost nothing left. You have a country where a priority was placed on rebuilding the art and the culture.”
Poland amassed a collection of tapestries following the war, most notably at Wawel castle in Kraków. Included in that collection are more than 70 works from the 15th to 18th centuries includes the gem of Burgundy textile art from around 1460 – Story of a Knight with a Swan tapestry.
The emphasis on art and culture also proved an elixir to young Polish artists. The universities — where Latkowska-Żychska was then a student — were especially vital to that effort.
“The result of that was nothing short of phenomenal because an entire generation of Polish artists was born with this knowledge that they were an important part of Poland’s reconstruction,” Russell said.
Russell notes that Latkowska-Żychska is “one of the tops of this generation of Polish artists.” Her work Dark Blue from 1997 is featured in the Museum’s Contemporary International Tapestry exhibition.
“I always strived to master the skills which subjugated the tactile art materials to my will and, on the other hand, let intuition play its part—just as in nature. I wanted to narrate a textile story about the nature of water, sky, wind, dawn and twilight—ordinary and extraordinary world,” Latkowska-Żychska notes.
Professor Ewa Latkowska-Żychska holds a degree from the Fine Arts Academy Wladyslawa Strzeminskiego in Łódź, Poland where she has been Director of the paper-textile studio since 1997. She has exhibited her work at: Cheongju International Crafts Biennale, Korea; Nemzetkozi Miniaturtextil – 4th Triennial Of Textil Art in Szombathely, Hungary; VI Bienal Internacional de Arte Textil Contemporaneo WTA, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico; 6th and 7th International Fiberarts Biennale From Lausanne to Beijing. Beijing, China. Her works are in the collections of: Central Museum of Textiles, Łódź Poland, Savaria Museum, Szombathey, Hungary and the Centrum voor Kunst en Cultuur (Center for Art and Culture), Gent, Belgium.