Goshka Macuga’s Untitled

Goshka Macuga’s Untitled

Zachęta—National Gallery of Art

Goshka Macuga, “The Letter,” 2011.
Photo by Przemyslaw Pokrycki.

January 7, 2012

Goshka Macuga

3 December 2011–19 February 2012

Zachęta National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3
00-916 Warsaw

T(+48) 22 556 96 01


Goshka Macuga’s practice encompasses the roles of an artist, curator, collector, researcher and exhibition designer. She develops complex projects based on archive, historical, and scientific material, films, photographs, objects, sculptures, installation, architecture, art history, tapestries, as well as her own works and those of other artists. Placing them in a new context, Macuga combines past facts with topical issues and present-day reality, highlighting affinities and connections, revealing that which might pass unnoticed or be repressed. She belongs to a group of artists who draw on the formal tradition of Modernism. While often minimal in form, her exhibitions hold multiple layers of meaning and do not easily lend themselves to identification, leaving ample room for interpretation.

For many years now Goshka Macuga has been pursuing her own methodology, unique in comparison to the practice of other contemporary artists, and reminiscent of certain artistic strategies from the past (like those of Marcel Broodthaers). Developing new works, or exhibitions that become artworks in themselves, Macuga frequently begins with the history of their sites: researching the collections of hosting institutions, the biographies and oeuvres of other artists, as well as establishing direct collaborations with them. By including others’ work in her exhibitions—and thus blurring the boundaries between artist and curator—Macuga often transforms them, and questions the notion of authorship.

Goshka Macuga’s exhibition Bez tytułu / Untitled in Warsaw’s Zachęta National Gallery of Art marks the first solo presentation of the artist’s work in a public institution in Poland. At the heart of the project is the theme of censorship in Polish art after 1989, and the attacks aimed at artworks, artists, curators, directors, and institutions. The most infamous events, including acts of destroying artworks as well as nationalistic and anti-Semitic attacks, took place in the context of exhibitions at Zachęta. Working on the project, Macuga adopted her already typical method of delving into the archives of the hosting institution. As always, she drew on documents, exhibition documentation, portfolios of artists whose work had been presented in Zachęta, long shelves of binders with press clippings and photographs, as well as guest books, feedback books, emails and letters, including private correspondence addressed to Zachęta. Macuga not only chose to include the bulk of the surviving material on the subject in the exhibition, but also used it as a point of departure for new works (the Zachęta show presents exclusively new works), inspired by the practice of other artists: Tadeusz Kantor, Oscar Bona, and Richard Hamilton. Alongside the 14 metre notice board with press-cuttings, documents and letters, at the exhibition can be found lithographies, serigraphs, a monumental sculpture and a photo-Gobelin. In contrast to Macuga’s past projects, which showcased complex pieces in an intricate network of mutual relations, the works in Zachęta seem to be bound by a clear narrative that encompasses the themes of censorship in the gallery context and beyond.

For images and more information please contact Marta Miś-Michalska: press@zacheta.art.pl

curator Maria Brewińska
cooperation Katarzyna Kołodziej

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Zachęta—National Gallery of Art
January 7, 2012

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