Joanna Malinowska

10 Dec 2009 - 07 Feb 2010

© Joanna Malinowska
"Time of Guerrilla Metaphysics"

December 10, 2009- January 24, 2010
Extended through February 7th

CANADA is pleased to announce Time of Guerilla Metaphysics, a solo exhibition of new work by Joanna Malinowska. Time of Guerilla Metaphysics consists primarily of a giant sculpture of a Boli, which is a spiritual talisman created by the Bamana people in what is now Mali in West Africa. The Boli is a small, amorphous sculpture with a vague bovine appearance, composed of sacrificial materials relevant to the natural and spiritual world, including cattle dung, kola nuts, earth, blood, honey, etc. The sculpture is the literal representation of the Bamana conception of the cosmos, and is kept in a special place and is overseen by a group of male priests, blacksmiths, and village elders who are essentially the keepers of cosmic order.

In Malinowska’s version, the Boli is absurdly huge and created using her own set of idiosyncratic building materials and techniques. Instead of the more elemental Bamana materials, Malinowska’s list takes a turn into pure wonder. Water from the Bering Strait, hay, scraps of Spinoza’s Ethics, plaster and the sweater of Bolivian president Evo Morales are all combined to create a boli that is the embodiment of Malinowska’s Theory of Everything.

Not stopping there, Malinowska presents (in no particular order):

A replica of Malevich’s famous Black Square painting of 1915 (for the Boli to look at).

Two mammoth tusks

A black wooden cube, not a minimalist sculpture, but rather a reconstruction of a percussion instrument designed by the Russian avant-garde composer Galina Ustvolskaya, whose musical voice has been described as emanating from a black hole.

A wooden cane wrapped in felt, after the one used by Joseph Beuys for enchanting a coyote, mechanized to periodically rap the aforementioned black wooden cube in order to create mystical sounds for the Boli to hear.

A hand painted Ghost Dance dress stuffed with balloons filled with air from the prairies near the Oglala Sioux reservation.

A slightly delirious video of scruffy inhabitants of Brooklyn’s McCarren Park performing the Solar System model falling apart.


All this and more are tender threads, false starts and fragments from those who have gone all the way in search for alternative realities. It is a wild and complex vision. At its heart, Time of Guerilla Metaphysics is an experiment of potentially wondrous or cataclysmic results; never have such strange and disparate elements been combined and the world reimagined with such particular abandon. The cynic will naturally say that Malinowska is romanticizing exotic cultures and western cultural celebrities. On the other hand, the dreamer will just as naturally blink her eyes in wonder.

Joanna Malinowska is a Polish-born and New York based artist working in video, sculpture, sound and performance. A graduate of Rutgers University’s BFA program and Yale University’s MFA program, she has exhibited her work in the United States and internationally. She participated in the 1st Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art in Moscow and the International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Prague, and shown her work at such venues as; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; Zamek Ujazdowski Contemporary Art Center in Warsaw, Poland; Sculpture Center, Smack Mellon, Momenta Art, and Art in General in New York,

Tags: Joseph Beuys, Kazimir Malevich, Joanna Malinowska