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Aktualnosci Bolesławieckie środowisko artystyczne

Bolesławiec artistic community – Elżbieta Woźniewska

"... for everything that lives is unique, yet we are a whole enclosed in time and space. What we can grasp with our senses and reason becomes a universal unity. That is why I give a kind of signal, an injunction to preserve life, because if one element is missing - a character - a hole is created, the whole collapses."
Elzbieta Woźniewska
The world in a cryptogram - a conversation with Elżbieta Woźniewska, Ewa Ołenicz-Bernacka, "Rocznik Bolesławiecki 2017"

This post from the series “Bolesławiec artistic community” was prepared within the framework of the project “Bolesławiec – 30 years of local government” carried out by the Museum of Ceramics and the Bolesławiec Cultural Centre – International Ceramics Centre.

Elżbieta Woźniewska was born in Bolesławiec. Between 1980 and 1983 she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, at the Faculty of Graphics in Katowice. She then moved to West Berlin, where she continued her studies at the Hochschule der Künste, majoring in visual communication.

After completing her studies, she created graphic art for renowned German book publishers (e.g. Ullstein Verlag, Cornelsen Verlag, Bertelsmann), cultural institutions, advertising agencies and companies. At the same time, she continued to paint pictures, treating them as an imperative of autonomous creativity. After an academic period, she gradually simplified the subject to simple forms opening the way to abstract communication and transcendentalism.

In the early 1990s, she moved to Spain, where she established collaborations with numerous Madrid publishing houses (including Alfagaura, Anaya, Ediciones del Prado, Edaf, Mondadori, Pais Agilar, Tecnos) and the Ministry of Culture there. Inspired by Hittite reliefs from Anatolia, she began working on a series of paintings entitled ” Cryptograms”, which consists of figure-signs symbolising specific concepts such as woman, man, strength, challenge, loneliness, cause, etc. The artist uses them to create ordered compositions, which are like books written in mysterious script, waiting to be deciphered by the viewer. Presented for the first time at a solo exhibition in Madrid, ” Cryptograms ” was enthusiastically received by art critics and viewers.

In 1999. Elżbieta Woźniewska returned to Berlin, where she continued to work as a graphic designer. In 2002, she was invited to participate in the ” United Buddy Bears” campaign under the auspices of UNICEF, in which artists from all over the world were given the task of painting, according to their own ideas, a 2-metre-high figure of a bear – the symbol of the German capital. The bear exhibition was presented in more than a dozen capitals on five continents.

One day Dr Walter Andrees, director of the Staatsbibliothek Preussische Kulturbesitz in Berlin, proposed to Elisabeth Wozniewska to make a unique artist’s book to complement the library’s collection. The result was the first experimental book entitled ” Icons of Polish Womanhood”, in which each page had the form of another letter of the word “womanhood”. Other object-books followed: ‘Aphorisms’, ‘Labyrinth of Time’ and “Gilgamesh”. For the entire series, the artist received a distinction at the 8th TIME International Book Art Festival in 2008, and in 2012. “Gilgamesh” was awarded the Director’s Prize of the St. Staszic Pomeranian Bookshop in Szczecin at the 9th International Book Art Festival CORRESPONDENCE.


1997 „Elżbieta Woźniewska – Paintings and Graphics”, Museum of Ceramics in Bolesławiec

1998 „Criptogramas”, Galería Gayo Arte, Madrid; Galería Detras del Rollo, Murcia (Spain)

1999 „Criptogramas”, Sala de Exposiciones, Universidad de Alicante, Alicante (Spain)

2000 „Cryptograms”, Polish Cultural Institute, Berlin “Cryptograms”, The Society for Arts, Chicago (USA)

„Cosmopolitan”, SYSECA, Berlin

„Criptogrammas”, Centro Cultural de San Angel, Mexico City; Museo Regional de Antropología de Yucatán, Merida (Mexico)

2002 „Emoticon”, Bulgarian Institute of Culture, Berlin; Elisabeth Zimmerman Gallery, Berlin

2003„El colour y el vacio” (Colour and emptiness), AELE Evelyn Botella Gallery, Madrid (Spain)

2004„Kryptogramme”, Werkstatt der Kulturen, Berlin; VIADRINA University, Frankfurt (Oder) (Germany)

2005„Cryptograms”, Grodzka Gallery, BWA, Lublin, Poland

„Cryptograms Other Worlds”, Polish Institute, Prague (Czech Republic)

“Cryptograms other worlds”, Galerie Tantow, Berlin

2006 „El mundo icónico”, Museo Universidad de Murcia (Spain)

„BilderKosmos”, Galerie Söffing, Frankfurt n. Menem (Germany)

2013 Word or Image, Książnica Pomorska im. Stanisława Staszica, Szczecin (Poland).

„’Threshold of Hope”, Gallery under the Basilica, Berlin

2017 ‘Threshold of Hope”, Gallery under the Basilica, Berlin
Cryptograms”, Humboldt Universität, Berlin 2019

„Parallels”, Museum of Ceramics, Bolesławiec

2020 “Parallels”, City Gallery, Wrocław


1984 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

Group exhibition „Streufeuer II”, Berlin

1985 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

Group exhibition „Streufeuer II”, Berlin

1986 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

Group exhibition „Streufeuer II”, Galerie Friedenau, Berlin

1987 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

Group exhibition, Konstancja (Niemcy)

„Annäherungen – Polnische Kulturtage in Kreuzberg”, Berlin

Group exhibition, Ballhaus, Berlin

1988 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

Galerie Friedenau, Berlin

1989 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

Galerie SIM, Berlin

1990 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

1991„Zugang nicht gestattet”, Berlin

„Imagen Digital”, Centro Cultural Galileo; Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madryt (Spain)

1992 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

1993 Group exhibition of the Association of Spanish Illustrators “Pintando Poesía”, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid (Spain)

1995 Freie Berliner Kunstausstellung, Berlin

„Pintando Poesía”, Athens, Buharest, Mediolan, Neapol, Rome, Utrecht

1997 “Artists of the Bolesławiec Area”, Museum of Ceramics, Bolesławiec

2000 „Cosmopolitan”, SYSECA, Berlin

2001 „Cosmopolitan”, SYSECA, Hannover (Germany)

„Visionen zum Tag der deutschen Einheit”, Berlin

„Hommage a Marlene Dietrich”, Berlin

2004 „32 Positions”, Museum Modern Art, Hünfeld (Germany)

2005 „Argumenta”, Atlas Sztuki Gallery, Lodz, Poland

„Motiva”, Austria Center, Vienna (Austria)

„Focus Szymborska”, Galeríe Insel, Berlin; Kunsthaus Rehau – IKKP, Rehau (Germany)

„Little Red Riding Hood”, Galerie ZERO, Berlin

2006 „Roman Triptych”, BWA, Lublin

Concrete art exhibition, Gerard Gallery, Krzewie Wielkie

International Book Art Festival TIME, Łódź

“United Buddy Bears”, Sydney (Australia), Vienna (Austria)

2007 „Constructivo-Concreto-Reductivo-Inteligible”, Centro Cultural Isabel de Farnesio, Aranjuez (Spain)

International Book Art Festival TIME, BWA Wrocław, Lublin, Szczecin

“BWA Collection”, Grodzka Gallery, Lublin

“United Buddy Bears”, Cairo (Egypt), Jerusalem (Israel)

2008 International Book Art Festival TIME, Poster Museum – Warsaw, Chełmek, Częstochowa, Gdynia, Płock, Bremen (Germany)

“United Buddy Bears”, Warsaw, Stuttgart (Germany), Pyongyang (South Korea).

2009 „Intelligible Prozesse”, Künstlerforum, Bonn (Germany)

„Presence and Depth”, Grodzka Gallery, Lublin (Poland)

International Book Art Festival TIME, Konin, Jastrzębie Zdrój, District Museum – Bydgoszcz, Museum of Paper Industry – Duszniki Zdrój

„Polish Artists’ Books from the Turn of 20th and 21st Century”, National Library – Warsaw, Lublin, Kielce

Seoul International Book Arts Fair, Seoul (South Korea).

“United Buddy Bears”, Buenos Aires, Montevideo (Argentina), Berlin

2010  “Europe Concrete – Intelligible”, Villa Dessauer, Bamberg (Germany)

“Book Art. Polish Art Book from the turn of the 20th and 21st century”, University of Łódź Library, Municipal Public Library – Jastrzębie Zdrój, Poland

“United Buddy Bears”, Astana (Kazakhstan), Helsinki (Finland)

2011 „Book Art. Polish Art Book at the turn of the 20th and 21st century’, Centre for Contemporary Art, Toruń, Poland

Polish Art Book, Musashino University of Art, Tokio (Japan)

“Collection of the Museum Modern Art in Hünfeld”, Centrum Sztuki Galeria EL, Elbląg

“100-Tage-Kunst/ 100-days-of-art”, Verein Düsseldorfer Künstlerinnen e.V., Düsseldorf (Germany)

„United Buddy Bears”, Sofia (Bulgaria), Berlin

2012 International Book Art Festival KORESPONDENCJA, Plock Art Gallery, City Gallery – Tarnów, Ciekoty, WiM Library – Łódź, BWA Nowy Sącz

International Book Art Exhibition, Centre for Contemporary Art, Toruń

SIBAF – Seoul International Book Fair 2012, Seul (South Korea)

“United Buddy Bears”, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), New Delhi (India), St. Petersburg (Russia)

2013 International Book Art Festival KORESPONDENCJA, ODA – Piotrków Trybunalski, Town Library in Inowrocław, BWA Sandomierz

2nd Artist´s Book Triennial, Martin (Slovaka)

„Mach Kunst”, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin

„United Buddy Bears”, Jekaterynburg (Russia), Mexico City (Mexico)

2014–2017 „United Buddy Bears”, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Santiago de Chile, Penang, Berlin

2018 “100th anniversary of Independent Poland”, Club of Polish Losers in Berlin

„Buddy Bear Berlin”, Berlin

2019 „Buddy Bear Berlin”, Gwatemala

2020 „United Buddy Bears”, Berlin

“Artists of the Bolesławiec area”, Museum of Ceramics, Bolesławiec

  • Museum of Ceramics in Bolesławiec
  • Museum Modern Art, Hünfeld
  • Museum of Book Art, Łódź
  • Musashino University of Art, Tokio
  • Galería AELE, Evelyn Botella, Madryt
  • BWA Gallery, Lublin
  • Institut für Konstruktive Kunst und Konkrete Poesie, Kunsthaus Rehau (Niemcy)
  • Książnica Pomorska im. Stanisława Staszica in Szczecin, Poland
  • Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesitz
  • Staatsbibliothek Dresden and Frankfurt n. Menem
  • The Society for Arts, Chicago (USA)
and in private collections in Bolivia, Brazil, Spain, Colombia, Germany, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, USA, Venezuela and Italy
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