Anna Baumgart/Birgit Brenner

Anna Baumgart/Birgit Brenner

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

April 16, 2004

​Anna Baumgart/Birgit Brenner
Collection of Shameful Gestures

19 April – 16 May 2004

Zacheta National Gallery Of Art
 pl. Malachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw, Poland
tel. (48) (22) 827 58 54 fax. (48) (22) 827 78 86

Press Conference – 19 April, 12 noon
Exhibition opening – 19 April, 7 pm

Curator Joanna Turowicz

The exhibition presents works by Anna Baumgart (Warsaw) and Birgit Brenner (Berlin). The works of both artists deal with the issue of women’s auto-aggression and hysteria, presenting behaviour and gestures on the fringes of normality, oddity and madness.
Anna Baumgart’s new video project “Ecstatics, Hysterics and Other Saints” (2004) seems at first glance to be close in form to a documentary film. It presents a rich repertoire of women’s self-destructive gestures drawn from reality, such as the ecstatic shattering of glass or the cutting of skin. The actresses playing out their rituals are young, cared-for women, while their “paratheatrical activities” take place in everyday domestic interiors: living rooms, bathrooms and halls. The collision of these gestures with ordinary surroundings unsettles and provokes questions. The film also makes subtle reference to mother-daughter relations, suggesting the hereditary nature of certain gestures.

From 1999 onwards Birgit Brenner has been creating a verbal-visual narrative devoted to women on the verge of madness. The works from the series, “Fear of a Red Face” 1999-2001 and “Dress. Part 2: Once You Wanted to Become Famous”, 2002 are large format digital photographs and red notices written in paint on the gallery walls. “At home I feel good, and sometimes quite normal or beautiful. Anywhere else I am worthless, listless and ugly. Nobody tells me so to my face, but I feel what they think about me.” This is the fragment of the tale of a heroine who destroys her home, isolates herself from the world and covers her face under a red sweater. The beautiful aesthetically composed photographs metaphorically illustrate her story: the artist sets fragments of the female body together with red wool, sometimes bringing to mind trickles of blood, on other occasions a bloody spider’s web.

The exhibition is organised in co-operation with the Goethe Institute in Warsaw.

During the exhibition, an interdisciplinary conference will take place:
“GENDER and HISTERIA” 23rd – 24th April 2004

Zacheta National Gallery of Art
pl. Malachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw, Poland
tel. (48) (22) 827 58 54
fax. (48) (22) 827 78 86

Gallery Hours
Tuesdays – Sundays 12 noon – 8 pm
free Thursdays
For press information and illustrations please contact Klaudia Madejska

Patron of the Zacheta Gallery: BRE Bank

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Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
April 16, 2004

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