States of Focus

15 Mar 2019 – 20 May 2019

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Natalia LL's works will serve as the starting point for the "States of Focus" exhibition – the retrospective of the Wrocław-based artist willbe shown in the context of the works of more than forty female artists from the former Eastern Block countries.


Taking its title from one of the works by Natalia LL, the exhibition "States of Focus" concentrates on the artist’s own image, which she has been exploring almost since the beginning of her practice. Although the strategies of using her own appearance have changed over the years, the Wrocław-based artist consistently situated her face and body at the centre of her art. The exhibition confronts her oeuvre, produced over the span of more than five decades, with works by over 40 artists from Poland and countries of the former Eastern Bloc. This juxtaposition makes it possible to not only attentively analyse the transformations which women’s self-portraiture has undergone in art history, but also to polemically approach the practice of the main heroine.

Based primarily on photography, video and actions for the camera, the exhibition concentrates on the moment when female artists point the camera lens at themselves. Consequently, it raises questions about performance of the self, strategies of representation, and constructing and de-constructing the image of a woman. Highlighting the historical continuity of these experiments offers a new perspective on the currently ubiquitous phenomenon of selfies, which permeates not only social media, but also the artistic discourse. By presenting the historical and international context of self-portraiture, the exhibition problematises the ambiguous gesture of self-analysis and poses questions about female artists’ self-definition and the perception of women in society.

The invited artists investigate issues such as objectification of the female body, scopophilia, emancipating and oppressive aspects of sexuality, narcissism, acceptable and reprehensible social roles, the right to self-determination and individual freedom. An important facet of the exhibition is the influence of iconography and mythology on the forms of representation, the role of tradition and the potential change of status of the contemporary woman artist. The variety of perspectives on the female experience forms a multi-thread story that weaves together the social and political role of women and private narratives.

By concentrating on the phenomenon of self-presentation in art, the exhibition "States of Focus" invites the viewer to not only reinterpret the practice of the outstanding artist from Wrocław, but also to revisit her oeuvre in dialogue with canonical works that have defined the perception of women’s art in Central and Eastern Europe.


Małgorzata Miśniakiewicz

Exhibiting artists

Sędzia Główny

Anna Kutera

Dóra Maurer

Alexandra Croitoru

Agata Zbylut

Teresa Tyszkiewicz

Zofia Kulik

Katarzyna Kozyra

Ewa Zarzycka

Cecylia Malik

Ewa Partum

Julita Wójcik

Teresa Gierzynska

Jadwiga Sawicka

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović

Izabella Gustowska

Alla Georgieva

Aneta Grzeszykowska

Geta Brătescu

Jana Shostak

Alicja Żebrowska

Liliana Piskorska

Anna Niesterowicz

Ewa Kuryluk


Natalia LL

Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčova

Barbara Konopka

Adu Karczmarczyk

Anna Baumgart

Anča Daučíková

Sanja Ivekovic

Tanja Ostojić

Dorota Nieznalska

Elżbieta Jabłońska

Anna Płotnicka

Šejla Kamerić

Katarzyna Górna

Zuzanna Janin

Anna Jermolaewa

Teresa Murak

Agata Bogacka


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