Sculpture

Igor Mitoraj/ Igor Mitoraj

Poland 1944 - 2014

Sculpture

Igor Mitoraj
Igor Mitoraj
Male
Poland
1944

Igor Mitoraj was a famous Polish sculptor who drew inspiration from the concept of broken beauty. His pieces, similar to the works of the old Roman and Greek culture, are fragmented, with a certain postmodern feel. They make us think about the damage inflicted on the antique statues by the passing of time. His works are prevalently large-scale and made in marble, terracotta or bronze. Mitoraj’s sculptures have the greatest impact when combined with a certain setting – the artist was particularly fond of the Meditteranean landscapes.

gallery october
Igor Mitoraj – Mysterious Faces From the Past

Between Germany, Poland and France

Igor Mitoraj was born in the mid-40s in Oederan, Germany. In 1963, he moved from Germany to Poland and enrolled at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied painting and was tutored by Tadeusz Kantor, the famous Polish painter. Mitoraj had his first solo exhibition in Krakow in 1967, just a year before he moved to Paris to continue his education in fine arts. I started with painting but I felt a constant need for the third dimension, the artist claimed in one of his interviews. He was an adventurous soul and he traveled to exotic places whenever he had a chance to do so. During the early 70, when he visited Mexico, he became impressed by Latin American art, particularly their huge, epic statues. They were beautiful and foreboding at the same time and after the artist had returned to Paris in 1974, he started creating sculptural pieces which he exhibited at Gallery La Hune. The exhibition was a great success and it encouraged Mitoraj to seriously pursue the medium of sculpture.

Mitoraj has moved from Krakow to Paris to continue his education

october gallery
Igor Mitoraj – Valley of the Temples

Infusing Postmodernism Into Classical Work

Mitoraj was initially working with terracotta and bronze but after his trip to Italy in 1979, he started uusing marble as his primary medium. In 1983, seduced by the charms of Italy and especially Rome, he set up his studio in Pietrasanta. Mitoraj’s sculptural style is based on the classical tradition and focused on the well-modelled torso. However, his pieces are not entirely inspired by the classical Roman and Greek tradition – he introduced an interesting post-modern twist into his pieces. They have truncated limbs, which emphasize the damage sustained by the majority of antique pieces. Mitoraj was extremely gifted when it comes to finding a right anatomical part in order to make a decisive visual statement. I feel that a piece of arm or a leg speak far more strongly than a whole body, the artist said. However, the reason why his works are fragmented or seem damaged is not only to mimic the ravages of time – the artist also underlines that the modern times we’re living in inflict a strong damage on human soul, because of the isolation and the lack of basic human contact. Some of his sculptures are blindfolded, which is a great metaphor for our isolation and loneliness.

Mitoraj’s pieces have truncated limbs, which symbolizes the damage sustained by the antique works

Igor Mitoraj -The Fallen Angel
Igor Mitoraj -The Fallen Angel

Mitoraj’s Important Projects and Commissions

Mitoraj was an extremely busy and prolific artist – in addition to his exhibitions, he worked on many commissions, especially in Italy and Poland. He was invited to the 42nd Venice Art Biennale in 1986, and during the 1980s and 1990s he had many solo and group shows throughout Europe and America. The solemnity of his pieces fits well within various religious environments and he was commissioned to create bronze doors at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome, in 2006, and also at the Maria Boska Laskawa Church in Warsaw, in 2009. Mitoraj’s works are now the part of the prestigious gallery, museum and private collections, such as Coca-Cola Foundation in Atlanta , Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield. The artist has won the Golden Medal for Merit to Culture in 2005 and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 2012. He died in Paris, France, in October 2014.

Mitoraj has worked on many commissions, especially in Italy and Poland

Igor Mitoraj - Eternal Love
Igor Mitoraj – Eternal Love

Perfection of Broken Beauty

Mitoraj was deeply dedicated to his work and he continued to exhibit until the very end of his life. The concept of broken beauty was his lifetime muse, the very center of his entire artistic world. My work is an example of this dichotomy: mesmerizing perfection attached to corrupted imperfection, Mitoraj has cleverly described the bottom line of his creative processes. His work contains a unique nostalgic appeal that managed to bring together the rigorous antique tradition and the dark decay of postmodernism.

Igor Mitoraj lived and worked between Poland, Italy and France.
Featured image: The artist’s portrait – image via polityka.pl
All other images via flickr.com

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Igor MitorajPiazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, ItalySolo
2014Igor MitorajSinopie Museum, Pisa, ItalySolo
2014Igor MitorajOpera Primaziale Pisana, Pisa, ItalySolo
2013Igor MitorajMuseum of Castelvecchio, Mitoraj, Sculture, Verona, Italy Solo
2013Igor MitorajMinistry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin, GermanySolo
2012Skulpturen/ SculpturesDie Galerie - Frankfurt, Frankfurt/MainSolo
2012Von Kopf bis FuBPortrats und Menschenbilder in der Sammlung Wurth - Kunsthalle Wurth, Schwabisch HallGroup
2012Scenography and Costumes for the Opera AidaDoha, Qatar Solo
2011Scultures On Show Sala Gaspar, BarcelonaGroup
2011Donation Khalil NahoulMAMAC - Musee d´Art Moderne et d`Art Contemporain Nice, NiceGroup
2011Mitoraj at the Valley of the TemplesArchaeological Museum of Sicily, Agrigento, ItalySolo
2010Arte a ConciendiaSala Gaspar, BarcelonaGroup
2010La Defense, “Mitoraj un Sculpteur a la Defense” Paris, FranceSolo
2010Mitoraj MonumentalAix en Provence, France Solo
2010Scenography and Costumes for the Opera AidaBoboli gardens, Florence, Italy Solo
2010Mitoraj MonumentalAbbaye de Silvacane, FranceSolo
2009Group ShowForum Gallery - New York, New York City, NYGroup
2009Sothebys - Beyond LimitsChatsworth House, Bakewell, DerbyshireGroup
2009Young Creation PlanProgram Gallery, WarsawGroup
2009Estampes, Modernes Et ContemporainesGalerie Pierre-Alain Challier, ParisGroup
2009Vancouver Sculpture Biennale 2009-2011Vancouver Sculpture Biennale, Vancouver, BCGroup
2008EsculturasSala Gaspar, BarcelonaSolo
2008Igor Mitoraj: BianconeroContini Galleria d´Arte, VeniceSolo
2008SOPORTE PAPEL IISala Gaspar, BarcelonaGroup
2008MI PROPUESTA ARCO 08Sala Gaspar, BarcelonaGroup
2007ESCULTURAS - MITORAJ IgorSala Gaspar, BarcelonaSolo
2006La BellezzaLa Permanente Milano, MilanGroup
2006Public exhibitions in GranadaValencia, Palma de Mallorca, Sevilla, Spain. Fundació La CaixaGroup
2005Mitoraj Sculture - Ca’ PesaroGalleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna, VeniceSolo
2005Antonio Manzi at Court! - marblebronzegraffiticeramicsPalazzo Pitti, FlorenceGroup
2005From Martini Mitoraj - LAMECBASILICA PALLADIANA, VicenzaGroup
2004Igor Mitoraj - ZachetaNational Gallery of Art, WarsawSolo
2003Igor Mitoraj. Sculptures and DrawingsInternational Cultural Centre / Międzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, KrakowSolo
2002Igor Mitoraj - HypnosSala Gaspar, BarcelonaSolo
2002Scenography and Costumes for the Opera Manon LescautTorre del Lago Puccini, Italy Solo
2000Mitoraj : nostalgia del mitoCity of San Marino, Republic of San MarinoSolo