Sasza Blonder’s works presented in the exhibition were created during his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where he was an active participant of the Kraków Group, one of the last avant-garde artistic societies established in Poland prior to World War II. The artists in the Kraków Group opposed conservative academic art, expressly championing modern artistic practice, and openly proclaimed radical communist-oriented views. Blonder’s oil, watercolour and gouache paintings from that time combine revolutionary zeal with the use of avant-garde artistic forms alluding to Constructivism and Unism. The painting Prison and Sketchbook Card are critical portraits of the socio-political reality of Poland in the 1930s. He offers a grim vision of a country dominated by an oppressive state apparatus, omnipresent brutal police, surveillance, censorship and political prisons. At the same time, Blonder’s engaged pieces mark a departure from literal realism. In the painting, the artist mixes human figures with abstract motifs, tapping into simplified synthetic forms, whereas his Sketchbook Card alludes to Berlin Dadaism and Expressionism, relying on collage techniques and evoking the aesthetics of political satire and caricature.
Sasza Blonder (b. 1909 in Czortków, d. 1949 in Paris) – a Polish painter of Jewish descent, Blonder studied architecture in Paris and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. He was an active member of the Kraków Group. The initial period of his artistic practice witnessed experimentation with various forms of deconstructing landscape and abstraction, and later the artist turned towards Colourism. In 1937 he left permanently for Paris, where he opened his own studio. During the war, Blonder collaborated with the French resistance movement. He died in an accident in 1949.