"It was in this climate of a growing awareness of modern art and its history that Antonina Gmurzynska opened her gallery in Cologne in 1965, deciding initially to devote her attention to the European avant-gardes of France and Russia.
She focused in particular on movements like Suprematism and Constructivism, which for decades had been excluded from the studies and analyses of art historians because of their political and ideological connotations. It was an inclination that led her from 1966 onward to promote figures like David Burliuk and, over the decades to come, making use of her direct contacts with the artists’ families, Alexander Rodchenko, Mikhail Larionov, Paul Mansouroff, Ilya Chashnik, Nikolai Suetin and Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg.
She was also able to draw on her knowledge of private and public collections in Moscow and Leningrad, where works by Kazimir Malevich, El Lissitzky and Vladimir Tatlin were to be found. A program that saw the staging of major historical exhibitions like Russian Artists of the 20th Century (1968), From Surface to Space: Russia 1916-1924 (1974), Kazimir Malevich. On the Event of His 100th Birthday (1978) and From Painting to Design: Russian Constructivist Art of the 1920s (1981). In 1971 she turned her gaze on Surrealism and later the whole gamut of the avant-gardes, with exhibitions on Kurt Schwitters (1978) and Fernand Léger (1985).
With the drive and vision of Krystyna Gmurzynska supported by Mathias Rastorfer, from 1991 as director and from 1996 as partner, the gallery chose to stress feminine influences on the history of modern art, with Cherchez la Femmes (1992) and Rodchenko-Stepanova: Moscow-Paris via Cologne (1993). It went on to expand the areas of its interest to take in the tendencies of the sixties, from Yves Klein to Donald Judd, from Louise Nevelson to David Smith and from Robert Indiana to Wilfredo Lam and Tom Wesselmann, as well as to open up to the diversity of creative languages, exploring everything from photography to design and architecture, from Karl Lagerfeld to Richard Meier and Zaha Hadid. "
Germano Celant, 2015