The Avant-Garde Institute was founded in 2004 by the Foksal Gallery Foundation. Its main purpose is to preserve Edward Krasiński’s studio and make it available to the public. In the apartment/studio that Krasiński inherited from Henryk Stażewski, a pioneer of avant-garde art in Poland, has been preserved a unique collection of works arranged by the artist in the years 1988–2002. The installation remains unchanged since Krasiński’s death in 2004. Its main feature is blue Scotch tape, stuck by Krasiński horizontally at the height of 130 centimetres, ‘everywhere and on everything’. ‘I don’t know whether this is art’, he commented, ‘but it’s certainly scotch blue, width 19 mm, length unknown’.
The founding of the Avant-Garde Institute involved also covering the studio’s adjacent terrace with a glass pavilion. This newly created space is used for exhibitions and educational workshops, facilitating the exploration of the earlier history of the apartment, which is located on the eleventh floor of the apartment block at Aleja Solidarności 64 in Warsaw, meaning primarily Stażewski’s work.
Stażewski moved in the flat in 1962 with avant-garde painter Mewa Łunkiewicz-Rogoyska and her husband, Jan Rogoyski. Together they created a lively artistic space, one of very few in then Warsaw, a venue for busy social life and artistic meetings. In 1970, Krasiński moved in with Stażewski and the two continued the place’s tradition together. Following Stażewski’s death in 1988, his constructivist paintings were moved from the apartment to museums. Vacated by the great avant-garde artist, the space inspired Krasiński to create new works, which were largely informed by the studio’s space and history. Gradually, the studio assumed its present shape.
The terrace pavilion houses all kinds of exhibitions, lectures, workshops and academic sessions, forming a broad context for the tradition created by Stażewski and Krasiński. The confrontation of Krasiński’s ephemeral works with new exhibitions and critical reflection makes the Avant-Garde Institute a unique experiment in contemporary museum practice.
The studio’s expansion and the opening of the Avant-Garde Institute was made possible by donations from the artist’s daughter, Paulina Krasińska, a Mondrian Foundation subsidy under the ‘Thinking Forward’ program and Maurizio Cattelan’s donation of his Arnold Bode Prize.