We speak to Lukasz Rogowski, a Warsaw based IC Collector, about his interest in collecting pre-war avant-garde prints and new Polish art.
In a country where collecting has not reached its peak, Lukasz Rogowski shares his thoughts on where the future of collecting contemporary art is heading for Poland, and also why he loves to live with his collection.
What inspired you to start collecting?LUKASZ ROGOWSKI
During my studies I was working in an antique bookstore and I discovered the world of graphic projects on the book covers made between 1918-1939. I knew then that was my world – works of Poland best designers: Mieczyslaw Berman, Henryk Stazewski, Kazimierz Podsadecki and more. After that my interests started to resonate in a broader sense, focusing on paintings, photography or sculpture, and it was then that I began to collecting.
You collect both new Polish art and pre-war avant-garde prints and posters, what is it about these two genres of art that you enjoy so much?LUKASZ ROGOWSKI
Probably that I am always interested in avant garde ethos. It doesn’t make any difference if it is pre-war movement, constructivist, suprematist or the post-war movement of conceptual artists. (I am also proud owner of a collection of mail art from the 1970s, made by Kwiekulik duo Ewa and Andrzej Partum). I am interested in artists who explore the limits of art.
Is it important for you to display the two style of artworks together or do you present them separately?LUKASZ ROGOWSKI
I think it depends on a curator’s vision – if we are talking about an exhibition. On my own website [rogowskiaiu.com](http://rogowskiaiu.com/) I present it all together because I feel that the books with their attractive covers, made by famous artists is something complementary for the artwork. I can see, for example, the influence of pre-war design for post-war polish poster scene. Pre-war artists very often explore some cut-off method which is very popular in poster design. This can be seen in Mieczyslaw Bermans’s cover to “Za Chinami stoi Moskwa” – the title meaning that Russia is standing behind China. And what do you see? A Gigantic Russian standing behind smaller Chinese. It’s genial project!
Do you live with your collection? Is this something that is important to you?LUKASZ ROGOWSKI
It’s very important for me to live with my collection – it’s the reason I am collecting
photos and prints. I like to wake up and see Edward Krasinski’s ink work on paper
which is hanging on my wall. I like to take a book to my hand with an interesting graphic project and enjoy the texture of the paper, the smell etc. Sometimes I am making a “reconceptualization” of the works by hanging them on my walls. I feel that it’s also not good to isolate photography.
Has there been any change in the collecting scene change in Poland and if so, how?LUKASZ ROGOWSKI
In Poland the scene of collectors of contemporary art is still quite small. Probably most of the clients from the galleries are foreigners during the art fairs. One good sign however is that our market of luxury items is quite big – it will just take some time until those people recognize art as a part of the luxury market as well.
For sure we have to work at the roots and start organizing panels for new people interested in art, publish a books for a new collectors etc. It can be hard to find a way into the art world sometimes. The main problem is that we have to generate a place to educate possible clients and collectors and we have to start from the childhood. I remember being shocked learning the number of children that go on school trips with their teachers to the MoMA in New York – it’s so important.
What is the most important thing to remember when collecting?LUKASZ ROGOWSKI
I think that a very important thing in collecting is to…limit myself! It’s good to know
what you want and to have a vision of a set of works. If somebody is a specialist of abstract art from between the war period, it doesn’t make sense to put art nouveau pieces in the collection. I prefer smaller collections and am very strict about the quality and the concept as a whole. Less is more!
I really like it when collector is also well qualified and when collectors know everything about the artist and their works. A good example of how sometimes this is not always possible is the book cover of a Stanislaw Jerzy Lec debut called “Barwy. Poezje” published in
pre-war Lviv. The cover was designed by Otto Hahn and typography was made by Pawel Hahn, with both having connections to the avant garde group called Artes – a very interesting movement of polish-jewish artists and a relatively unwritten chapter of history of art. There really isn’t much information about these people and the work they made.