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The MOCAK Collection

The catalogue presents a selection of the MOCAK Collection.

Creating a contemporary collection is a declaration of the role and social sense of art simultaneously. The scope of this declaration depends on the world view of the creators of the collection. There are at least several reasons for assembling a collection. One may amass works of art for aesthetic delight, or for the pleasure of possessing and showing beautiful paintings. A radically different reason is collecting works that can be used with the intention of fighting for a cause. Collecting art may also result from the desire to invest money well. Aesthetic preferences are decisive in the first case, a sense of mission in the second, and a feel for the market in the third. However, one can also create a collection by seeing art from the inside. The most frequent practice in such a case is to collect artists regarded as important to a city, a country, or the world—the geographical scope depends on ambition and opportunity. Another option, the "internal" one, is to relate the concept of the collection to the structure of art and to discover moments, problems, and formal solutions that are important to the period to which the collection refers. The Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków has accepted the latter, structural variant.

The watershed moment for the structure of contemporary art was the battle between conceptualism and pop-art. This combat between intellect and the everyday led to post-modernism, the neo-avant-garde, critical art, ironic art, art in public spaces, and street art. While continuing to take advantage of galleries and museums, art expanded the range of its presence in many public places and contexts. It renounced only its presence in churches, which resulted from the principle, adopted at a certain moment, that the artist does not endorse or support alien ideologies. Presence in many different places, the resultant contexts, engagement in the subject, responsibility for interference, the dependence of the medium on situation and subject—all of this caused art to start becoming more similar to life than to itself as it had been a few decades earlier. This "lifelike" similarity resulted from the multiplicity of forms, the complication of problems, and the use of themes pertinent to life. And it was precisely this quality of art, the fact that it was unsubdued in terms of media and themes that became the starting point for the MOCAK collection.
The ambition of the exhibition is to encompass the diversity through which art operates at present. This diversity extends to the problems taken up by artists, the range and type of interpretation, and the highly differentiated, more or less mixed media in which all this is presented. Such assumptions posit an international and inter-cultural collection, with some leeway for setting the proportions. Without violating these assumptions, it is possible to concentrate on art within the confines of the museum – which for various reasons is justified – while still conveying the universal structure of present-day art. On top of all this, the social benefit of contact with a diversity of artistic attitudes and media forms is a lesson in tolerance. Accepting the right to express oneself on every subject and in every form means giving a positive answer.*

*A fragment from In Praise of Diversity, an essay by Maria Anna Potocka

The MOCAK Collection

texts by: Maria Anna Potocka
translation: William Brand, Anda MacBride
graphic design, DTP: Rafał Sosin
format: 170 × 230 mm
number of pages: 80
binding: soft with flaps
publication date: 2011

artists (authors of the works reproduced): AES+F, Tomasz Bajer, Tymek Borowski, Edward Dwurnik, Leopold Kessler, Krištof Kintera, Ragnar Kjartansson, Jarosław Kozłowski, Robert Kuśmirowski, Lars Laumann, Norman Leto, Piotr Lutyński, Małgorzata Markiewicz, Bartek Materka, Maria Michałowska, Józef Robakowski, Maria Stangret, Beat Streuli, Paweł Susid, Marian Warzecha, Krzysztof Wodiczko
artists’s biographical notes: Monika Kozioł

Catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition:
The MOCAK Collection
MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow
coordinator: Monika Kozioł