The Department of Art & Art History and Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, Poland, recently jointly presented an exhibition, The World Without Us, curated by UNC Charlotte painting professors Andrew Leventis and Maja Godlewska. Their work was featured in the exhibition along with works by Associate Professor Erik Waterkotte and artists from Germany and Poland.
The Department of Art & Art History’s relationship with the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design was founded by professors Maja Godlewska and Marek Ranis, who are alumni of the academy. The Wrocław natives have built a strong relationship between UNC Charlotte and their alma mater, bringing two exhibitions from the academy to UNC Charlotte galleries and leading a group of Charlotte art students to Wrocław for a study tour. In 2009, the two institutions developed a formal student exchange program; thus far, four students from Charlotte have studied in Poland and two from Poland have come to Charlotte. The academy also hosted Waterkotte as a visiting professor this past spring, and in partnership with the McColl Center, UNC Charlotte hosted Dr. Zuzanna Dyrda, who was the first exchange scholar/artist from Geppert to come to UNC Charlotte.
Godlewska and Leventis describe The World Without Us: “This painting exhibition reflects on a philosophical and ecological problem that Eugene Thacker introduces in Dust of this Planet, which is to imagine a world that is ‘not for us.’ Thacker states that in every way we conceive of the world, in every framework, we presuppose a human-centric world, a world ‘for us.’ In its modern incarnation, we understand the world through self-help and therapeutics for consumerism. Our human understanding of the world reflects our solipsistic and exploitative view. To conceive of such a world is likely an impossible task, yet each artist touches on the thought in some way. We think the themes of this exhibit are particularly relevant in light of political and social unrest, as well as the global pandemic.”
The first stage of the exhibition took place in the fall of 2019 in London. The artists, which include Erin Fostel, Katie St. Clair, and Tammam Azzam, in addition to the UNC Charlotte faculty, added new work for the show at Geppert Academy, which ran in July 2023. The World Without Us next travels to Berlin, Germany, where it will be on display August 5 - September 2.
Pictured above: The exhibition at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, Poland. Right, "Sentinel" 2023, by Waterkotte: laser engraved handmade flax paper over laser cut handmade flax paper with india ink and acrylic.