Oops! I just can’t stop!

Emigrant artists: escapees, outcasts, voluntary residents, citizens of the world…?

Oops! I just can’t stop! Zbigniew Rybczyński
Paweł Sitkiewicz (University of Gdańsk)
11 March 2015, 5:30 pm | Infobox in Gdynia

Laureate of an Oscar, king of innovation, pioneer of High Definition technology, founder of the Center of Audiovisual Technologies in Wrocław. Zbigniew Rybczyński – distinguished Polish director who revolutionized Hollywood – will be the protagonist of the next meeting of “Beyond the Borders of Art ” series. His life and output will be presented by Professor Paweł Sitkiewicz – cinema and mass culture historian of the University of Gdańsk.

This is the second time the Emigration Museum in Gdynia ventures “Beyond the Borders of Art” and extends an invitation to get acquainted with the silhouettes of distinguished, celebrated (but also less recognized) emigrant artists. The cycle of eight lectures will familiarize the participants with artistic fortunes of creators that voluntarily chose – or were forced to choose – a life away from Poland and will retrace their influence over the realm of art in Poland and in the world.

Similarly to the last edition of the vastly popular lectures series, the list of protagonists features artists of various times, styles, and medias. We have invited distinguished specialists from all over Poland to host the lectures, people with deep knowledge about their protagonists – art historians, exhibition curators, and authors of monograph publications. Each story will therefore, gain an additional, personal dimension and will become a unique journey following the footsteps of the creators. The lectures are addressed to a wide audience – they are open and non-academic in format and popularizational in character. The second edition of the cycle was inaugurated on October 22, 2014 by Hubert Bilewicz’s lecture on Tamara Łempicka.

Zbigniew Rybczyński has been crossing the traditional borders of art for over 40 years now. He began experimenting with picture, sound, and animation while still being enrolled with the Department of Cinematography of the film school in Lodz and has continued to do so as the author of the most innovative short films in the history of Polish cinematography. He spent nearly half of his life living as an emigrant in the United States and in Western Europe where he gained recognition as a tireless innovator in the field of film, television, and new media, owner of Zbig Vision film studio, and pedagogue of several prestigious academies. Some remember him as the master of Polish animation and the winner of the Oscar for “Tango”, others – as the author of video clips for music stars and the pioneer of multiple audiovisual techniques. It is – however – but a fragment of the whole portrait. Zbigniew Rybczyński’s biography is a bizarre mix of art, politics, and show-business.

Paweł Sitkiewicz: cinema and mass culture historian, professor of the University of Gdańsk. Primarily interested in animation, comic, prewar film, and art correspondence. Author of several books: “Małe wielkie kino” (2009, Little Big Cinema – trans.), “Polska szkoła animacji” (2011, Polish School of Animation – trans.}, “Miki i myszy. Film rysunkowy w przedwojennej Polsce” (2012, Mickey and the mice. Animated film in prewar Poland. – trans.).


From October 2014 to June 2015 the lectures will take place once a month between 5.30 pm and 7 pm at the Infobox in Gdynia.

1.Tamara Łempicka (1898-1980), Hubert Bilewicz Ph.D., University of Gdańsk, October 22

2.Wojciech Fangor (1922), Ewa Gorządek, Center of Contemporary Art in Warsaw, November 13

3.Jan Lebenstein (1930-1999), Magdalena Szafkowska, National Museum in Wrocław, December 10

4.Marek Żuławski (1908-1985), Sławomir Majoch, Nicolaus Copernicus University Museum in Toruń, January 14

5.Roman Opałka (1931-2011), Joanna Sosnowska Ph.D., Institute of Arts of Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw, February 11

6.Zbigniew Rybczyński (1949), Paweł Sitkiewicz Ph.D., University of Gdańsk, March 11

7.Piotr Uklański (1968), Łukasz Ronduda Ph.D.,Center of Contemporary Art in Warsaw, April 8

8.Krzysztof Bednarski (1953), professor Waldemar Baraniewski, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, June 18

Here’s what Hubert Bilewicz Ph.D. – the author of the concept and program of “Beyond the Borders of Art”– has to say about the series:

“Were emigrant artists those who had to migrate or those who wanted to? Perhaps they were those who could leave? The Emigration Museum in Gdynia launches the second edition of the lecture series devoted to Polish emigrant artists. The ambivalence of their statuses, conditions, and motivations is somewhat troublesome, yet it may propose a unique value to the narrative about the complicated and looped fates of Polish artists or artists in general. Some of them were destined to leave, others volunteered. Significantly, the question of Polish presence in contemporary art entails questions about the reach and the importance of Polish artists’ participation in the international circuit of art, as well as questions about the character and the reach of the reception of Polish art. This is particularly valid for emigrant artists, whose lives and works were stretched between Poland and the world, artists curious of the world, yet – at the same time – torn with yearnings; those who assimilated with their new environments or were alienated from them; artists who remained abroad and those who repeatedly returned to their homeland; citizens of the world… The cosmopolitan or irrational formula of artistic life is closely connected to geopolitical or national implications, local experiences, and – lastly – individual fates. Although contemporary art is no longer limited by borders, the artistic life of the 20th century was defined by multiple borders indeed: national ones, environmental, generational, ideological, stylistical… Migrations also tended to give artistic life momentum as mobility and freedom are both part of creative formula.”

Hubert Bilewicz – art historian, academic teacher, educator. Works at the Institute of Art History of the University of Gdańsk. Academically, primarily focused on researching the history of the so-called Sopot School, as well as the artistic environment of Gdynia after 1945. He is particularly interested in various implications of art – both artistic and non-artistic ones.


Related posts:

Upcoming events