Joanna Malinowska and Christian Tomaszewski
Mother Earth Sister Moon
within the exhibition “The Splendour of Textiles”
A collaborative project between Joanna Malinowska and Christian Tomaszewski was originally commissioned by Performa’09 and later presented at Nottingham Contemporary. The project explores how the future was imagined under the Communist regimes of the former Soviet Bloc by investigations through the lenses of architecture, music, fashion and style. The project also incorporates other elements related to a diverse range of Eastern Block phenomena, including the Soviet space program, sci-fi film and literature, and a journey to the site of the mysterious 1908 explosion over the Tunguska River Valley in central Siberia.
The research concerning these various elements manifests itself as a giant reconstruction of the suit worn by the first woman in space, Russian astronaut Valentina Tereshkova. This suit pays tribute to the sculpture Hon-en Katedral, an enormous female figure conceived by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1966. Visitors to the original incarnation of Mother Earth Sister Moon were invited to walk inside the giant sculpture and witness a fashion show featuring both reconstructions and reinterpretations of designs that evoke the Soviet space program and unique aesthetics of Eastern European science-fiction. The performance was accompanied by the music of Japanese composer Masami Tomihisa.
The upcoming presentation at the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art is somewhat different from the previous incarnations and considered the final unveiling of this project. The work retains its original core element of the live show as a curated fashion/design exhibition in motion, but the monumental space suit is this time pushed aside as a garment no longer needed. The exhibition also features two sets of 24 film and culture oriented magazines that were published in Poland throughout the decades proceeding collapse of the Eastern Bloc, and while they may initially appear identical, Tomaszewski has altered them. Focusing mostly in the realm of cinema, the work examines how Eastern European science fiction stood out in comparison to its Western counterpart, how it fueled the dreams of the future, how it was used to spread Marxist propaganda, and how it was later used as a tool of anti-government expression. In addition to the magazines, a set of industrial fans circulate occasional random trash throughout the gallery. The final presentation also includes a new soundtrack compiling archival recordings of the 1980s band Pancerne Rowery among other found bits and pieces.
Project originally realized as a Performa Commission produced in association with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and Open Art Projects.
Polish-born, New York-based artist Joanna Malinowska works in sculpture, video and performance. Her projects - often inspired by interest in cultural anthropology - have been exhibited in many, both solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe, at such venues as the Sculpture Center, Art in General and CANADA in New York, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris, Saatchi Gallery and Nottingham Contemporary in the UK, the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, and most recently at the Whitney Biennial 2012. Malinowska holds a B.F.A. degree from Rutgers University and a M.F.A. from Yale School of Art. She is a recipient of grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Smack Mellon, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation among others.
Polish-born, Brooklyn-based artist Christian Tomaszewski holds a M.F.A degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland and was an artist-in-residence in such programs as the American Acedemy in Rome, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, and Artpace in San Antonio, TX. Tomaszewski’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe – at the Sculpture Center, the Bronx Museum, and The Drawing Center in New York, the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in Germany, the National Gallery in Prague, Midway Contemporary Art Center in Minneapolis, Nottingham Contemporary, De Paul Art Museum in Chicago, in the First Biennale of Polish Art (Lodz, Poland), and 2nd Athens Biennale in Greece among others.
Tomaszewski is a recipient of numerous grants and awards including past support form the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
Besides the work on Mother Earth Sister Moon, Malinowska and Tomaszewski have been collaborating on other projects and are currently developing a multi-disciplinary work, Cinema in the Jungle, in the South American rainforest.