The Sixties in the Sixties
Unfulfilled love on the grounds of the agricultural circle
The focal point of the text is the historical and cultural perspective on the sixties in Poland. The decade in arts is diagnosed as not isolated from its context, therefore the sixties, which have been forced in between the seemingly coherent decades of fifties and seventies – ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ art – are reinstated into their own context – the sixties. Thus the text approaches the art created during the decade from a historical viewpoint, offering analysis of works of art connected with social and political phenomenon such as the Vietnam War, the death of Ernesto Che Guevara, Non-Proliferation Treaty, Cold War, nuclear warfare, moon landing, etc – threads that run parallel in all domains of culture.
The argument is constituted from some alternative caesurae of the decade – between the competition for the Auschwitz monument in 1958 and the antisemitic purge initiated by the infamous speech of Gomułka delivered in March of 1968. Caesura seized by the discourse on the reappropriation of realism – taken over by the official propaganda of the totalitarian regime – seems to be established with two paintings – And the Queue goes on by Andrzej Wróblewski from 1956 and And the Queue still goes on (for Andrzej Wróblewski) by Zbylut Grzywacz from 1973. The attempt of Polish artists to regain access to realism and/as the language of proletariat appears as crucial for understanding the culture of the sixties as the ‘unfulfilled love on the grounds of the agricultural circle’ – as the decade reveals both its connection points and footholds with the sociopolitical reality – its visual and language patterns.