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Installation view, American Master. Frank Stella: Polish Villages
Installation view, "American Master. Frank Stella: Polish Villages", Lévy Gorvy, Hong Kong, 2019. Photo: Kitmin Lee

Frank Stella

American Master. Frank Stella: Polish Villages

Lévy Gorvy Hong Kong
May 24 – July 27 2019

Lévy Gorvy is pleased to present American Master. Frank Stella: Polish Villages, an exhibition featuring assemblages from Frank Stella’s seminal Polish Village series (1970–74). Inspired by the 17th–19th century wooden synagogues in eastern Poland that were destroyed by the Nazis during the Second World War, the series marks Stella’s first direct engagement with the relief. Opening on May 24, American Master. Frank Stella: Polish Villages is the first exhibition in Greater China ever dedicated to Stella’s work.

The Polish Village series emerged following the artist’s first retrospective, which opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in March of 1970, when Stella was just 34; he was the youngest artist ever to receive a full-scale retrospective in the institution’s history. Stella felt ambivalent about the formal debates surrounding his exhibition in the midst of the turbulence of the Vietnam War, and the Polish Village works comprise his poignant response. Inspired by Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka’s book Wooden Synagogues (Arkady, 1959), in which the Jewish architecture experts compiled photographs and line drawings of seventy-one synagogues documented during an architectural survey in the 1920s and ’30s, the Polish Village works share affinities with the angular architectures and sophisticated carpentry of the synagogues. Each of Stella’s compositions—named for the structures pictured in the Piechotkas’ book—appears in several versions that are materially and formally distinct. In Artforum in 2016, Stella described an underlying concept of the series: where modernism’s constructivist line can be traced from Moscow to Berlin via Warsaw, this path is mirrored in reverse by the course of the Nazis, who ruined these sacral sites.

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