Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955-1972

Exhibitions

Illuminated Lips and Marching Lips, c. 1966

Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955‒1972

Sat, May 19, 2012Sun, Aug 5, 2012
Repeats every week every Sunday and every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday until Sun Aug 05 2012 .

Discover the work of a prominent Polish artist in a major touring exhibition. Artforum.com says it offers "that rare luminous sense of discovery that comes with encountering a phenomenal artist for the first time."

In a tragically brief career, Alina Szapocznikow restlessly explored an incredible range of sculptural approaches. Highly respected in her native Poland, her work has only recently begun to be widely known and admired internationally, evoking such terms as “risky” and “audacious” and comparisons to such legendary artists as Louise Bourgeois and Eva Hesse.

This international touring exhibition is one of the first large-scale surveys of Szapocznikow’s work outside of Poland. Sculpture Undone concentrates in particular on works dating from 1955 to just before Szapocznikow’s untimely death in 1973, at age 47. Those years are often described as her experimental period, when she shifted from rather classical figurative sculpture to the use of new, often-unexpected materials and forms that recall both surrealism and pop art. More specifically, she developed a concept of sculpture as a kind of imprint: not only of memory but of her own body. She created tinted polyester casts of her lips and breasts and transformed them into functional objects like lamps or vases or ashtrays, incorporated photographs into her constructions, and poured polyurethane to form strange and provocative objects. These late works—at once sexualized, fragmented, vulnerable, humorous, and political—remain as remarkably idiosyncratic and contemporary today as they were when they were first made.

This exhibition was organized by WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Click through for complete image captions. 1)
Alina Szapocznikow
Lampe-bouche (Illuminated Lips) and Bouches en marche (Marching Lips), c. 1966
Colored polyester resin, electrical wiring, metal
11–20 1/2 inches (28–52 cm) high
Courtesy The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski and Private collection, courtesy Galerie Isabella Czarnowska respectively
© The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski / 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

2)
Alina Szapocznikow
Untitled (From the series Paysage humain (Human Landscape), c. 1971–1972
Watercolor and felt-tip pen on laid paper watermarked “extra strong”
11 1/2 x 8 1/8 inches (29.3 x 20.6 cm)
Courtesy The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanisławski
© The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski / 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Photo by Fabrice Gousset, Paris

3)
Alina Szapocznikow
Petit Dessert I (Small Dessert I), 1970–1971
Assemblage: Colored polyester, glass salad bowl
3 1/8 x 4 5/16 x 5 1/8 inches (8 x 11 x 13 cm)
Kravis Collection
© The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski / 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Photo: Roland Schmid

4)
Alina Szapocznikow
Paysage humain III (Human Landscape III), 1971
Ink, watercolor, and felt-tip pen on paper laid down on paper
9 3/8 x 12 1/2 inches (24 x 32 cm)
Courtesy The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanisławski
© The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski / 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Image courtesy Piotr Stanislawski and Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris
Photo by Fabrice Gousset, Paris

5)
Alina Szapocznikow
Souvenir I, 1971
Polyester resin, glass, wool, photographs
29 9/16 x 27 9/16 x 13 inches (75 x 70 x 33 cm)
Courtesy of The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski and Galerie Gisela Capitain GmbH, Cologne © The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski / 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

6)
Alina Szapocznikow
Fetish III, 1970
Polyester, lace, original plexiglass vitrine designed by the artist
7 1/8 x 14 5/8 x 9 7/16 inches (18 x 37 x 24 cm)
Private collection, London
© The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski / 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Jean Dubuffet, Vaches au pre (Cows in a meadow), 1954

Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection closes Dec 31. Don't miss the exhibition artnet named among the world's 25 "must-see shows."

Artists featured in Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection

Learn more about the artists represented in Transfigurations at our dedicated website. (Educators will also find curriculum resources to support their K–12 classrooms.)