Aneta Grzeszykowska

26 Sep - 15 Nov 2014

26 September – 15 November 2014

Hoaxes have long been among Aneta Grzeszykowska’s prefer­red artistic methods. She con­sisten­tly, almost obses­sively, breaks her image down into parts, either disap­pearing altogether or taking on an entirely dif­ferent per­sona. The analysis of the process of self-​creation – one of the most fun­damen­tal themes of art and also a basic premise for the con­dition of the post-​medial society of today – is a major theme of her latest series of photographs.

Selfie lies between photography and sculp­ture. Grzeszykow­ska makes a radical turn in the direc­tion of the grotesque, creating star­tling sculp­tural charades using frag­ments of her own body, modeled in pig­skin and exhibited on smooth leather back­grounds. Her selfie takes on an uncanny quality as she creates a self-​portrait out of many parts. Cor­poreality, sen­suality and auto-​eroticism are treated with sharp, black humor, which trans­forms the aesthetic experience into a strug­gle with basic existen­tial emotions.

Once again, as with her sculp­tures made in wool, the artist con­jures up the figure of a doll, an artificial endowed with real emotions and desire. Her refined, studied com­positions refer to the world of illusion – theater and film – resem­bling the ter­rifying props of a horror film set. Grzeszykow­ska gracefully trespas­ses the bounds of conven­tion in com­bining the artificial and the real. With Selfie, as in the clas­sics of the horror genre, death imitates life, while life – the artist’s hands visible in the photographs – is deadened as she gestures towards these imper­manent objects of sculp­ture. The frag­men­tation of the body, through the sur­real exer­cise of sculp­ting select organs and the use of tight photographic frames, leads to a leveling of the proces­ses of creation and destruc­tion. Frag­ments of the female body are at the same time actual pieces of an animal’s flesh. Through manipulation, they all the more shar­ply convey the irrever­sibility of passing.

One of the most significant con­texts of Grzeszykowska’s work is the art of Post-​modern female artists, who have sub­ject the social status of their own bodies and the cul­tural iden­tity of women to verification. In sub­sequent works, such as Untitled Film Stills and Love Book, Grzeszykow­ska refers to the work of Cindy Sher­man, Hannah Wilke, Ana Men­dieta and other iconic represen­tatives of Modern Art (Selfie clearly draws upon themes developed by Alina Szapocz­nikow, for exam­ple). The artist uses such citations and adap­tations to create her own story. Her driving idea is the question of how possible it is to escape cul­tural and artistic stereo­types in shaping iden­tity. In various ways Grzeszykow­ska takes apart her own image and manipulates the vision of her body, ultimately reaching towards a sculp­tural sub­stitute. In this way she approaches the radical and jar­ring asser­tion that self-​creation is merely another, imper­fect means of dealing with the mortal nature of the body.

Aneta Grzeszykowska has taken part in a number of significant inter­national exhibitions, such as the Berlin Bien­nial (2006), La Trien­nale in Paris (2012), and been exhibiting most recen­tly at the New Museum and the Sculp­ture Center in New York, Con­tem­porary Art Museum in St. Louis, Fol­kwang Museum in Essen and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Last year’s solo exhibition at the Zachęta – National Gal­lery of Art won her Polityka magazine’s Pas­sport Prize (2014). Her works are part of numerous prestigious col­lec­tions, inc­luding that of the Salomon R. Gug­gen­heim Museum in New York, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the Łódź Art Museum.

Tags: Aneta Grzeszykowska, Hannah Wilke