Polish Art of the 70s discusses the opening of the Polish neo-avant-garde in the 1970s toward the realities of the era in two ways – a post-essentialist and a pragmatist one. The book examines a large variety of positions within the neo-avant-garde scene. Artists of this generation were pioneering in their exploration of site-specificity, everyday life, communal structures, the eroticized body, and political ideology – tropes that are still central to contemporary art making.
Polish Art of the 70s analyses the tension between post-essentialist and pragmatist notions of artistic work – a tension that Lukasz Ronduda believes was formative for the movement and crucial for understanding the changes that occurred in Polish art of the 1970s. The first part of the book analyses post-essentialist strategies which attempted to combine a reflection on art with essential existential issues, related to the individual’s relationship with the world. In the second part neo-avant-garde pragmatist positions are presented that, no longer thinking about art in terms of essence, subordinated it to certain life praxis.