The Polish Heritage Society (UK) Summer Exhibition
Robert Sobociński – Sculpture Exhibition, Southend Pier
Saturday 30 June to Sunday 2 September, 2012
In 2012 Polish Arts Festival, in association with the Polish Heritage Society, presented works by the artist Robert Sobociński in a major exhibition on Southend Pier. The works were located on the old bowling alley site for more than 2 months, and attracted an enormous amount of interest from locals and visitors alike. Many thousands of people photographed, touched, and generally engaged with the large bronze sculptures. It is hoped that a similar exhibition will take place on the same site again next year.
Robert is a resident of Poznan and has created sculptural works for over 20 years. He has presented his works since the early 1980s, initially in Poland, then also in Germany, Belgium, and for the past 14 years mainly in France. He also has one of Europe’s largest bronze foundries, making work not for himself, but also many other artists.
He is the author of a number of plein-air sculptures and monuments, among others the Monument of Katyń and Siberia Victims in Poznań. His first spectacular success (1980) was the award of the 1st prize at the competition for Juliusz Słowacki’s monument in Warsaw. The artist started exhibiting his works in the beginning of the eighties – still during his studies at the Poznań Academy of Arts – at O.N. Gallery, Wielka 19 Gallery and Kontakt Gallery. In 1990 he presented his first bronze sculptures at an individual exhibition at MR Gallery in the rooms of Górków Palace.
Since 1991 his works have been regularly presented at the majority of important sculpture exhibition rooms in Paris, such as DECOUVERT, SAGA, FIAC, Sculpture Triennial in Paris and also within the framework of tens of collective exhibitions in France, Belgium and Germany. At a prestigious exhibition – “Visions of Europe” in the Eiffel Tower – the artist presented a monumental bronze – ‘The Returning’. In autumn 1993 he held an individual exhibition of his works during one of the most important modern arts fairs in the world – the FIAC at the Paris Grand Palace.
In 1995 Robert Sobociński was invited to participate in the European Sculpture Triennial in Paris. At that exhibition he presented the ‘Awaken’ sculpture – greatly exposed as the closing of the main axis of the Botanic Garden. In 2001 – invited again to take part in the Paris triennial – he presented a 3-meter high bronze composition entitled ‘Gaya’. The presentations in France resulted in the permanent presence of his sculptures in private collections all over Europe. His ‘Icarus’ composition stands in a park surrounding a 17th century residence in Normandy. Saint-Tropez is a home for ‘The Returning’. The 6-meter high ‘La Vie’ composition, purchased in 2000 by the France Telecom Mobile, constitutes the central accent of the glass hall of their Paris office building. In the same year, within the framework of the international ‘Transis’ exhibition, Robert Sobociński presented an over 4-meter high bronze work – ‘L’autre’. Today the sculpture – purchased by the authorities of Bar-Le-Duc city – is located in the oldest part of the town, in the park surrounding the City Museum.
In Poland, the artist presented his works at an individual exhibition at Na Piętrze Gallery in Poznań and at the Sculpture Biennial in Poznań ( 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004). Bronze still remains the artist’s favourite matter. The sculptures are created within the framework of a several weeks, sometimes even several months’ long process of shaping the form prepared for casting. Sobociński’s works seem to present the constant restraining of metal’s energy into the expression of construed forms. His figures, sometimes archaically rudimentary, reflect the roots of sculpture – from the earliest, primal struggle of people in the scope of building cult forms, to the later forms that bear the history of experience.