Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Jakub Zarzycki

PhD student

funded by the German-Polish Academic Foundation 

Mail Zarzycki19(at)gmail(dot)com

Jakub Zarzycki (born 1988) is an art historian, Polish philologist and curator of contemporary art. From 2007 to 2012 he studied Art History at the University of Wrocław, where he wrote both his BA thesis, "The Mausoleum of Karl Georg von Hoym in Brzeg Dolny" (supervisor: Dr Agata Kubala) and MA thesis, "The difficult art of sacrifice: Wojciech Gerson (1831-1901) and Historical Painting" (supervisor: Prof. Waldemar Okoń). In 2013, he received a BA in Polish Philology from the University of Wrocław as well. Currently Zarzycki is a PhD Candidate in Art History at the University of Wrocław and is writing a dissertation titled "L'Italia immaginata: Italy and Italians in Polish Visual Culture, 1861-1918" (supervisor: Prof. Waldemar Okoń). He was a co-founder and coordinator of an academic workshop in the Institute of Art History, which concluded with two scientific conferences held at the University of Wrocław: New Themes in Art History (24 March 2014) and Revitalization: Between Theory and Practice (two editions: 27 May 2013 and 28 April 2014). In June-July 2014 he received the Fritz Stern Fellowship for individual research in Berlin. Jakub Zarzycki has also worked as a curator of contemporary art, having curated several exhibitions of contemporary painting for Arttrakt Contemporary Art Gallery in Wrocław as well as international photographic projects presented in public spaces in Wrocław.

Research project

Post-Colonialism (?) and Polish Visual Culture, 1861­­-1918
Short description: A study of Polish visual culture of the second half of the nineteenth century makes it apparent that artifacts of this time were largely devoted to the preservation of the Polish community's cultural integrity. As a result, several academic problems that were characteristic of Polish culture of the period may be identified, including specific themes, artistic practices, and critical expectations. However, by themselves these categories do not provide satisfying description of the period. Enters post-colonialism. The primary objective of my research is to examine Polish art from the second half of the nineteenth century in light of post-colonial thinking. Since the methods in question have been successfully utilized by the Polish literary critics, in my scholarship I will draw on their experience. Following the critique of post-colonialism, my research will involve methodological considerations as well, particularly as it applies to the field of nineteenth-century visual culture in Central Europe.


Main areas of research

  • Polish visual culture, especially painting, between 1861 and 1918 from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • Artistic relations between Italy and Poland from the nineteenth century to today
  • Art historical methodology
  • Relationships between art and politics in Central and Eastern Europe from the nineteenth century to today 


Positions and memberships

  • Vice President, Wrocław's Foundation of Art History Students (2012-2014)
  • Vice President, Council of PhD Candidates, University of Wrocław (April-June 2014)
  • Secretary, Council of PhD Candidates, University of Wrocław (November 2013-April 2014)

Edited Volumes

Karolina Dzimira, Marek Kwaśny and Jakub Zarzycki, eds., Rewitalizacja. Między teorią a praktyką [Revitalization: Between Theory and Practice], conference proceedings, Wrocław 2014


"Polskie malarstwo historyczne w drugiej połowie XIX jako 'quasi-metanarracja'. Tyrania (?) widzialności (oraz) Idei," Opposite 3 (2012)
English version: "Polish history painting in the second half of the nineteenth century as a 'quasi'-metanarrative: Visible tyranny of the Idea?," in Politics of Erasure: From 'Damnatio Memoriae' to Alluring Void, edited by Anna Markowska, conference proceedings (Toruń: Polish Institute of World Art Studies, 2014).

"Mauzoleum Karla Georga Hoyma w Brzegu Dolnym na tle epoki" [The mausoleum of Karl Georg Hoym in Brzeg Dolny against the background of his times], "Dzieła i Interpretacje" [Works and Interpretations], vol. XIII (2012), ISSN 2084-8714, pp. 45-70.


"Benvenuto del passato," Odra 6 (2014): 63-65 [review of Ynika Shiboare exhibition]. "Martwa natura 2.0., czyli fantom pamięci. O malarstwie Joanny Mląckiej" [Still life 2.0, or the phantom of memory: On the paintings of Joanna Mlącka], in Procesy nieodwracalne / przywracanie [Irreversible processes / restoring], exhibition catalog (Wrocław: Arttrakt Contemporary Art Gallery, 2014), pp. 3-4.

"Śmierć według Miłosza Wnukowskiego" [Death according to Miłosz Wnukowski], in Wszystkie dzieci nasze są [All childrens are ours], exhibition catalog (Wrocław: Arttrakt Contemporary Art Gallery, 2014), pp. 4-5.

Thinking Through the hands: On the Paintings of Eugeniusz Minciel," in The Four Musketeers and D'Artagnan, exhibition catalog (Wrocław: City Gallery Wrocław, 2014), pp. 30-38.

"Abstrakcja, a raczej umowność koloru albo teatr na wyludnionej plaży, czyli kilka uwag o malarstwie Julity Malinowskiej" [Abstraction, or rather the conventionality of color, or theater on a solitary beach: Some remarks on the paintings of Julita Malinowska], in Solitary Beach, exhibition catalog (Wrocław: Arttrakt Contemporary Art Gallery, 2014), pp. 3-4.