Katarzyna Kozyra is the best known Polish woman artist of the last twenty years. Her name has become a symbol of critical art, as well as a synonym of scandal and misunderstanding. Her Animal Pyramid put contemporary art in the spotlight of public debate when the media through their manipulations started a heated nationwide discussion (involving not just art critics, but also representatives of a wide range of interest groups) around the young graduate from Grzegorz Kowalski’s studio at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. The public, whether directly (as viewers) or indirectly (through the interventions of the media), were thus from the outset drawn into the sphere of both the works and the life of the artist. For in the case of Kozyra, these two spheres are intimately intertwined.
Nearly twenty years have passed since those events and Zachęta is holding her solo exhibition. This is not a retrospective, although all of Kozyra’s best known works – e.g. Animal Pyramid, Bathhouse, Men’s Bathhouse, The Rite of Spring and the films from the In Art Dreams Come True series – are on show. The exhibition marks a new phase in the artist’s latest project, an autobiographical feature film, for which she is seeking an actress/actor to play the main role – herself. In the Zachęta, Kozyra is showing works (as well as archival materials and biographical documentaries) in which she appears as Olympia, voyeur, man, diva, madonna or pop star, so that we can follow through her successive incarnations and transformations. These works are meant as auxiliary materials for those interested in attending the casting for the role of Katarzyna Kozyra in her latest filmic project.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication containing a chronology of the artist’s life and work, compiled by Maryla Sitkowska, and fragments of Kozyra’s autobiographical writings, on which the new film will be based.
curator Hanna Wróblewska
(born 1963 in Warsaw, lives in Berlin and Warsaw)
Sculptor, author of video installations, films, performances and other artistic projects, often hard to classify. One of the best known Polish artists internationally. She studied sculpture under Grzegorz Kowalski at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. Her works discuss the most fundamental issues of human existence: identity, transience, death. She explores the area of cultural taboos related to man’s physicality and the stereotypes and forms of behaviour embedded in social life. In each of her works, Kozyra violates these taboos, risking public outcry. Her video installation Men’s Bathhouse received a honorary mention at the 48th Venice Art Biennale (1999).
The exhibition supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland.
The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the National Museum in Cracow, where it will be presented from February through May 2011.
The accompanying publication has been published with the support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
technological partner of the exibition Samsung
sponsors of the gallery: Caparol, PERI, Netia, Lidex
sponsors of the opening ceremony: A.Blikle, Freixenet, De Longhi, Kenwood
media patronage: Gazeta Wyborcza, AMS, TOK FM, Polityka, The Warsaw Voice, Stolica, Art&Business, Artinfo.pl