Wojciech Fangor, now in his 90s, is Poland’s best known living artist but little known outside his homeland. A freshly opened show - and the inaugural airing for new exhibition space 3 Grafton Street in London’s Mayfair - aims to bring him some belated recognition.
Fangor made Op Art avant la lettre and in isolation. In the late 1950s, he moved on from poster art to create vivid abstract paintings, using multiple layers of thin oil paint, and conjuring shapes that buzzed and blurred into each other.
He was featured in the ‘Fifteen Polish Painters’ exhibition at MoMA in New York in 1961 and at the same venue four years later alongside Bridget Riley and Frank Stella at the seminal Op Art group show, ‘The Responsive Eye’. In 1970, he was given a solo show at the Guggenheim. Now free to travel, Fangor worked in Paris, London and New York before returning to Poland in the 1980s.
The new show, ‘Colour-Light-Space’, has been curated by Simon and Michaela de Pury and brings together 30 Fangor works of the 1960s and 1970s from private collections; including that of Kasia Kulczyk, the instigator of the exhibition.
3 Grafton Street is a grade I listed townhouse, built in 1767 and designed by Sir Robert Taylor, complete with marble and onyx staircase, a new-classical atrium topped with an elliptical glass dome and with classical plasterwork. It is also the London offices of the Kulczyk Foundation and owned by Kasia’s father in law and Poland’s richest man Jan Kulczyk. Kasia is now using part of the house as an exhibition space with plans to present work by young Polish artists as well as more obvious crowd pleasers.