history

The first edition of the Triennale, prepared by Andrzej Will, its long-standing chairman, took place in 1965 and had the form of an open competition. For more than three decades, the Wrocław Triennale was the only review of drawing in Poland and for a long time the only big, cyclical event within the realm of visual arts in this part of the country. From the very beginning, Andrzej Lachowicz collaborated with the Triennale’s initiator and it was the two founders’ modern view of art, their curiosity and openness to new artistic ideas, that defined this domestically unique project. The significance of the Triennale was steadily growing until it reached its peak in the 1970s, the period of conceptual revolt, when Wrocław became the site of the most important events in Polish art. It was thanks to the activities of the most prominent Polish critic of contemporary art – Jerzy Ludwiński, his Mona Lisa Gallery and, above all, the work of the artists who gathered around this gallery. At that time one of Andrzej Will’s and Andrzej Lachowicz’s new associates who greatly contributed to the programme of the Triennale was Natalia LL, the curator of its next few editions.

Thanks to its ambitious programme and open formula, the Drawing Triennale featured world-renowned artists, including e.g. Christo, Valie Export, Carolee Schneemann, Royden Rabinowitch, Hermann Nitsch, Marlen Dumas, Nancy Spiro, A.R. Penck, oraz wybitni twórcy polskiej sztuki współczesnej, m.in.: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Jan Berdyszak, Jerzy Bereś, Janusz Bałdyga, Izabela Gustowska, Jan Chwałczyk, Józef Robakowski, Wanda Gołkowska, Zbigniew Dłubak, Zdzisław Jurkiewicz, Mikołaj Smoczyński, Zbigniew Warpechowski.

Without doubt, the last two editions of the International Drawing Triennale in 1992 and 1995 were among the most important art events of that time in Central-Eastern Europe. In 1999, Wrocław’s Academy of Fine Arts took over to become responsible for organizing the Triennale. Prof. Paweł Frąckiewicz was appointed chairman and since that time, for the next fifteen years, the event was called the International Drawing Competition. The change meant redefining the concept of the Triennale and a gradual turn towards the academic understanding of drawing.

Organizers of the new edition of the review, now called the International Festival of Contemporary Drawing Think Tank lab Triennale, fifty years after the outstanding initiative was born, now hope to bring back the artistic level and scale of the best years of the original Wrocław Triennale.