KAF. An amazing collection of art made available at Wrocław’s Market Square.

KAF, or the Krupa Art Foundation, is a foundation set up by Sylwia and Piotr Krup, who have long dreamt of combining business with art. The KAF Foundation not only supports young artists, but also works to educate, and does so from an early age. As part of the foundation’s activities, works of art have been put on display and in grand style. Sylwia and Piotr’s art collection has taken up almost all the floors – including the underground ones – of a corner tenement house on Wrocław’s Market Square. It is worth adding that the tenement itself is a gem, and its history is worth mentioning in a separate publication. The valuable objects included in the exhibition include a whole litany of GREAT names. Among them are Kantor, Sasnal, Fangor, Natalia LL, Juszkiewicz and Dwurnik. It is impossible to pass by this exhibition indifferently. On behalf of the whiteMAD editorial team, we thank you for creating the exhibition. The place of works of art is on the walls of museums and galleries, not in collectors’ warehouses.

Krupa Art Foundation (KAF) is an independent contemporary art institution established by Sylwia and Piotr Krup – Wroclawians, business people, collectors. Since its inception, the Foundation, based on private patronage, has focused on promoting and supporting contemporary art. Its activities span four levels. First: numerous educational activities, such as workshops, meetings and art programmes, carried out with partners from Poland and abroad. Second: an extensive programme of support for young art, including both financial patronage, exhibitions of their work and the KAF Young Art Prize painting competition, which is aimed at creative people starting their careers. Thirdly: KAF involves the business world in the promotion of young art, bringing creativity into the spaces of nearly twenty companies already. Fourthly, and finally, KAF is a unique place on the map of Poland – with its spectacular new headquarters in the heart of Wrocław’s Market Square, the Foundation provides visitors with several floors, with one of the best exhibitions of 20th and 21st century art in Poland, as well as space for temporary exhibitions, education and meetings. As the founders say, “Wrocław has enormous potential to fulfil its role as a European capital of culture. We regard building and supporting this social capital as our mission”.

Krupa Art Foundation (KAF) – idea and mechanism of operation

is an independent contemporary art institution established by Sylwia and Piotr Krup – Wroclaw-based entrepreneurs and collectors. The Foundation is a non-profit organisation proposing a new model for the functioning of cultural institutions in Polish conditions, based primarily on private patronage. The Foundation’s activities are aimed at creating a creative space for artistic debate, building dialogue between artists and expanding inter-institutional cooperation. Therefore, in addition to exhibitions, KAF conducts numerous educational activities, such as workshops, meetings, lectures and multidisciplinary artistic projects and programmes, carried out in cooperation with partner institutions from both Poland and abroad.

Krupa Art Foundation is a place that was established primarily out of love for art and a desire to share it with others. Instead of keeping our collection in a closed warehouse, we wanted to create a space where everyone could interact with the works of the most outstanding artists and develop their knowledge of art. The idea of creating a cultural institution in Wrocław also arose from a need that we ourselves noticed during our visits to galleries and museums and when building our own collection
– from a paucity of information, a sometimes too superficial explanation of the contexts that are very important in contemporary art, and from a desire to know and tell all the incredibly interesting stories behind the artists and their work. Art is fascinating. It can bring great joy to people – it develops creativity, creative thinking, it can provide a starting point for dialogue, inspire, interest, soothe or seduce, push you to think. They are stories that can be studied
and explore endlessly. But in order to draw fully from them – it is worth knowing more and more. Often the barrier of large cultural institutions is haughtiness, creating exhibitions and narratives as if they were only meant to serve a very conscious, sophisticated audience. The thing is to act the other way round – to create a field also for those who want to start their adventure, to invite people to experience art, and not to create distance. Hence – a huge part of KAF’s activities is education.
– says Sylwia Krupa.

The Foundation’s activities span four levels:

  1. Cultural education and inspiring artistic dialogue
  2. Building collections and making them accessible to visitors – currently in the form of a permanent exhibition, including an excellent selection of 20th and 21st century works, as well as temporary exhibitions
  3. Real support for young artists starting out on their path – by buying their works, promoting their work through exhibitions at the Foundation, organising the KAF Young Art. Prize competition and, finally, the Art Partner programme, which introduces the works of young artists to the office space of Polish business
  4. The place that ties all these activities together – the new Foundation headquarters opened a few months ago in the heart of Wrocław’s Market Square, creates a space for meetings, visits, creativity and education
Part of the permanent exhibition / “If we want everything to stay as it is, everything has to change”

Permanent exhibition – part of the Krupa Collection

Located in the basement of a tenement house on Wrocław’s Market Square, the exhibition “If we want everything to stay as it is, everything must change”, presenting selected works from the collection of Sylwia and Piotr Krup, is the symbolic foundation of the Krupa Art Foundation. Realistically, this exhibition, which is available on a daily basis in Wrocław, is today one of the most comprehensive and extensive exhibitions of contemporary art that can be permanently visited in Poland.

The oldest works in the exhibition were created in the middle of the 20th century, while the most recent works are by female and male artists working today. Among the works selected from the collection by the exhibition’s curator, Stach Szabłowski, are such names as Tadeusz Kantor, Edward Dwurnik, Wojciech Fangor, Ryszard Winiarski, Henryk Stażewski, Władysław Strzemiński and a wide representation of the younger generation – Ewa Juszkiewicz, Paulina Ołowska or Agata Kus. The exhibition could not miss works by people connected with Wrocław – Stanisław Dróżdż, Natalia LL, Paweł Jarodzki or Kasia Kmita.

The title of the exhibition is taken from “The Leopard” by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, a novel that tells the story of great social, cultural and political changes at the dawn of modernity. ‘The Leopard’ is set in Italy in the second half of the 19th century, but Lampedusa’s thought is universal and topical. The organising principle of modern reality is change. It finds expression in art – it is a special mirror that helps us to find ourselves in the image of reality.

Krupa Art Foundation

Krupa Art Foundation’s head office is located in a tenement house in Wrocław’s Market Square, at Rynek 27/28, in the building of the former Dresdner Bank and the trading house Pod Złotym Pucharem – the very history of the tenement house and the renovation of its several floors by the founders is the subject of a film. The gallery spans three levels with several exhibition spaces, an immersive room dedicated to multimedia projects, a space for children, a design and art publishing shop and a café. The space presents both current art exhibitions featuring Polish and foreign artists and, as part of the permanent exhibition (mentioned above), selected works from the private collection of Sylwia and Piotr Krup – works by prominent Polish artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

On level -1, in addition to the exhibition hall, there are two spaces dedicated to experimental projects: KAF Project Space and KAF Digital.

KAFProject Space is located in an underground bunker from the Cold War era and is dedicated to alternative projects and educational activities.

KAF Digital, on the other hand, is a space dedicated to immersive projects that allow you to literally immerse yourself in art and deepen your artistic experience. KAF Digital is also an innovative art education programme, telling the story of artists, works and ideas through the contemporary language of multimedia.
On level 1 of the gallery, in addition to the exhibition space, KAF visitors will find a café and a shop with a selection of the most interesting Polish design and art publications. There is also a space for the youngest visitors, accompanied by the educational programme Primo!

The creation of a place entirely dedicated to art on Wrocław’s Market Square marks the beginning of a new phase in the history of the tenement, but also brings new value to Wrocław by becoming involved in the creation of the city’s cultural life. All over the world, it is private patrons and philanthropists who stand behind institutions that bring innovation to public spaces. The world’s best universities, the largest museums, the most progressive research programmes are often built not as part of an investment by the state, which necessarily tends to focus on basic needs, but because the people who have built the wealth want to do something meaningful for the public good – to move the world forward, to leave something behind. Private investment
in culture or science has been a driver of development for centuries. We are investing in Wrocław because it is our city, our time and our children’s time to build. Wrocław has enormous potential to fulfil its role as a European capital of culture. Stretched between cultures, east and west, a city of meetings, business, but also an extraordinary historical heritage that brings openness to the new and different – I see no reason why, in a few years’ time, we should not be attracting people who love art like Bilbao or Venice. That’s what we would like and that’s what we’ll be working towards
– Piotr Krupa.

Performances by Monika Konieczna / The thing about the limits of human cognition. Light and Shadow

Patronage of young art and the Art Partner programme – measurable business engagement

An important part of the Krupa Art Foundation’s activities is to support the activities of young artists
and promoting their work. From the outset, the founders’ premise was to find a point of systemic intervention that would make a real difference in increasing opportunities for young artists – For hundreds of years, one of the great challenges of every artist has been funding. For good reason, the greatest opportunities to develop and create have been those who have found patrons. If we, philanthropists or art enthusiasts, want to support young creators, give them the chance to develop their talent and artistic pursuits, let’s start by meeting their basic needs, buy their works – it’s simple. At the Foundation, we have created a whole expert team and a mechanism for finding emerging talents – we want to be the first institution to buy their works, give them wind in their wings, funds and, in addition, often promotion,” says Katarzyna Młyńczak-Sachs, president of the Foundation.

The KAF Collection, which is created from these purchases, consists of works by young and promising artists from Poland and abroad. Painting is the basis of the collection, but photography, spatial objects and sculptures are also among the objects. Currently, the KAF Collection consists of over 550 objects. Among them are works by artists such as Krzysztof Grzybacz, Bartłomiej Flis, Karolina Balcer, Kasia Kmita, Bolesław Chromry, Alicja Pakosz, Katarzyna Wyszkowska, Bartosz Kowal, as well as foreign artists such as Sara Bonach and Jose Bonell.

Another tangible element of supporting young art is to familiarise the wider business community with it. This is served by Art Partner, an original, pioneering programme by Sylwia and Piotr Krup, developed on the basis of their personal experiences and conversations with business communities. Showing young artists in office spaces is a way of popularising contemporary art and increasing its audience. At the same time, this action supports the creation of a whole new market for artworks, thus helping young, talented artists to take the first steps in their careers. If on the walls of hundreds of offices in Wrocław, but also in other Polish cities, can hang a mass reproduction bought in a hypermarket or a unique work by a young artist from our collection, the choice is simple. We have also created a simple mechanism here – we make works from our collection available to our partners for symbolic amounts. Today, they are already going to the 17th location. This is a real, measurable change in public spaces and cultural education,” adds Katarzyna Mlynczak-Sachs.

You can find out more about the foundation itself and the exhibitions at: https://krupaartfoundation.pl/

We would also like to thank the Big Picture agency for their support / https://big-picture.pl/

Read also: Architecture in Poland | Wrocław | Art | Culture | Events | Tenement house | Exhibition | Polish designers | whiteMAD on Instagram

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