June 13, 2009 - Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw - Alina Szapocznikow
June 13, 2009

Alina Szapocznikow

Roger Gain
courtesy Piotr Stanislawski

Alina Szapocznikow and Maria Bartuszova, Pauline Boty, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, and Paulina Ołowska

May 14-July 6, 2009

Curators: Joanna Mytkowska, Agata Jakubowska
Collaboration: Marta Dziewańska, Maria Matuszkiewicz

ul. Panska 3
00-124 Warsaw, Poland
info [​at​] artmuseum.pl


The current show – Awkward Objects. Alina Szapocznikow and Maria Bartuszova, Pauline Boty, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, and Paulina Ołowska is a response to a clear change in the perception of Alina Szapocznikow’s oeuvre, and to a general revision of the way the art of female artists of her generation is viewed. This presentation of juxtaposed pieces by Bourgeois, Hesse, Boty, and Bartuszova is an attempt to show how these female artist-pioneers, as they experimented with material, form and expression, often including pre-feminist motifs, sought recognition, often in vain, from the artistic mainstream of their time. They are now becoming a focal point of the new art history.

By presenting works from the 1960s and early ’70s, Awkward Objects focuses in particular on the turning point when canonical artistic vocabularies underwent reevaluation. The need for change had not yet been defined as either a demolition or re-construction of history, and the new was felt only intuitively. This exhibition is conceived to recall the inspiring intuitions, doubts or illusions felt by those pioneers at a time when that history was just beginning to write itself.

Apart from novel formal concepts, Awkward Objects brings to the forth that which is particularly significant in Szapocznikow’s work: her innovative take on the body and its representation, touching on traumatic memories of the Holocaust, illness and the finite and feeble nature of the body. At the same time, her art is a manifestation of an extraordinary affirmation and admiration of life and the untamed power of female expression. For the first time since the artist’s death in 1973, her oeuvre is beginning to achieve international recognition and a place in great collections like the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the Tate Modern in London.

The exhibition features an extensive presentation of Alina Szapocznikow’s works in dialogue with those of other great artists of her time (Maria Bartuszova, Pauline Boty, Louise Bourgeois and Eva Hesse) as well as a rich selection of archival material, including documents from unrealized projects and personal correspondence. The show emphasizes Szapocznikow’s very contemporary awareness of creating one’s own image, which is stressed in the work by Paulina Ołowska, a young Polish artist, who deals with the image of a female artist.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue of the texts presented during an international conference Alina Szapocznikow: Works, Documents, Interpretations held at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw on May 15-16, 2009, featuring several world-renowned art historians, curators and critics (among others: Connie Butler (MoMA NYC), Sarah Wilson (Courtauld Institute of Art), Griselda Pollock (CentreCATH, School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, University of Leeds), Ernst van Alphen (Leiden University), Anke Kempkes (Broadway 1062), Anda Rottenberg (curator, art critic, Warsaw), Françoise Collin (writer, philosopher, Paris/Brussels), who were invited to reflect on new tendencies in research on Alina Szapocznikow’s art.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 12h00-20h00
Closed Mondays
Admission Free

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
ul. Panska 3
00-124 Warsaw, Poland
phone: +48 22 596 40 10


The exhibition was made possible by:
The Orange Foundation, The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, The Embassy of the United States in Warsaw

Media patronage:
Gazeta Wyborcza, TVP Kultura

Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
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