Oskar Hansen and Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

Academy of Fine Arts, where Oskar Hansen used to teach, in Sculpture Department, is situated in district named Krakowskie Przedmieście in Warsaw – capital of Poland. One of the students, Jerzy Słomiński, in Filip Springer’s book mentions about the particular course which has been served at Academy of Fine Arts by Oskar Hansen as a lecturer. In the room, painted in white and with sound of music, student had to go in cylinder shape carton box hanged from the ceiling and draw inside the answer for Hansen’s question. It is one of the student’s memories about the innovative way of teaching, which Hansen introduced to the school.


Oskar Hansen with his ideology stood out from the group of teachers, which followed current situation in Poland and represented classical art through the no provocative form. Hansen required from the student’s projects esthetics, which arise from deep sense and something reasonable, what include analysis in itself. Required from the students infinite searching, analyzing, and appropriate artistic  language to communicate with him. Mathematical attempt to the art made him incredible original and identifiable with artists from western Europe. He advocated self-responsible way of learning to give students chance to choose what they want to do, to do not create obligatory list of courses. The students have to be evaluate through the process and effects, not the attendance on the lectures. When the Sculpture Department of Academy of Fine Arts occupied new building, Hansen came with his ideas to change education and proposed common project, in which would be involved every student and teacher, to work together with the same issue. His explanation was “There do not exist any type of registration process to studio, because school do not have any. This is the open system, which allows to have opportunity to consulate project with different consultants and professors according to student’s needs. The task for whole year. Credit commission.”1 Hansen was responsible for the interior design. He proposed open space, which includes all students. The privacy was possible, because of provided mobile wooden screens. His idea and project of new school of thought  was rejected by pessimistic professors and has been hidden as not to arouse controversy. It is said to be rejected, because of fair of professors to lose the position in school and their rooted outdated ideals and rules. In 1980 Hansen won the position of dean, because of students votes and proposed new system, which allows students to choose studio leaded by particular professors. If they are not chosen during 2 years, they have to leave the school. This is about open form of studies. Program was strongly criticized and Hansen became accused to be against  the identity of the department and its liberal traditions. Hansen had to leave the Sculpture Department, and his concept of open form of school has never been realized.


Il.1.Students in Oskar Hansen’s Studio with apparatuses for Rhythm exercise. Source: http://diarieducacio.cat/oskar-hansen-al-macba-educar-millor-fer-ho-jugant/

1|Springer F., “Zaczyn. O Oskarze i Zofii Hansenach”, p.185, translated from polish by Paulina Frankowska

Oskar Hansen and Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

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