The Silesian Museum in Katowice has been assembling non-professional art since 1984 – initially within the Ethnographic Department and latter in the Non-professional Art Section of the Department of Fine Arts and, at present, Department of Non-professional Art.
Non-professional art, a phenomenon known since the late 19th century, has been widely discussed and documented. Because of its complicated nature, it is almost impossible to categorise and evaluate artists and their work in any objective way. Even the critics find it hard to use terminology consistently and that is why we have so many terms for it: intuitive, amateur, uneducated, intuitive art.
Thanks to the autonomous status of the Department of Non-professional art, thorough research into the field can be undertaken. It is definitely of great importance to penetrate the Silesian tradition, being so distinctive and practically unprecedented in the world.
The museum collection aims to emphasize the original and distinct qualities of Silesian non-professional art within a broader cultural context. Apart from its identification value, aesthetic and artistic criteria are valid as well. According to the novel concept, the Silesian Museum, in its new building, is going to present ‘uneducated’ Silesian art as a permanent exhibition and document the whole amateur movement since the interwar period right up to the present times – with particular attention to artistic groups such as Grupa Janowska, ‘Gwarek 58’, ‘Bielszowice’, ‘Filar 72’and ’19-Obsydian’, of which the most prominent representatives are – Teofil Ociepka, Ludwik Holesz, Erwin Sówka, Paweł Wróbel, Bronisław Krawczuk, Ewakd Gawlik, Władysław Luciński, Franciszek Kurzeja, Jan Nowak and others. The museum monitors a wider spectrum of this movement by including works of less known artists.
There is also a place for others, rather than just the Silesian authors in the collection- from other regions of Poland we get artists such as Stanisław Zagajewski, Eugeniusz Brożek, Franciszek Adamik and Włodzimierz Czerwa. This provides an invaluable insight into the phenomenon and facilitates comparison.
‘The Gallery of Outsider Art’ enriches the programme of the Non-professional Art Department. The purpose of this exposition is to animate the amateur art movement and familiarise the public with interesting and innovative contemporary artists. In this convention the following artists have been represented: Krzysztof Webs, Marek Idziaszek and Jacek Albrecht from Opole. In 2009 we are going to house the works of Justyna Matysek from Poznań – the only Polish winner of the Grand Prix organised since 1966 at the World Triennial of Naive Art ‘Insita’ in Bratislava.
This collection of non-professional art is constantly growing, which proves how powerful this movement is. It may also contribute to the promotion of the Upper-Silesian region. Besides, amateur art is often used in books, newspapers, magazines and film.