A photographic triptych, showing women in different stages of their lives – from youth, through maturity to old age. The adopted poses as well as the compositions with a static, “altar-like“ quality point to the inspiration by Christian iconography, recurrent in the artist’s work. The work deals with the relationship between age and the attitude to life. A young woman wants to be loved, a mature woman is fed up with everything and the old woman craves peace.
Twenty four colour self-portraits stand out from the crowd sketched in the background; each face plays out the spectacle of a different personality.
Anna Zaradny’s activities – as a composer, instrumentalist, multimedia artist – are strongly intertwined with the issue of polysensory stimulation. This aspect is especially characterized by two of them: Najsłodszy dźwięk krążącego firmamentu [The sweetest sound of a revolving firmament] (2011), a sound performative installation inspired by the figure of the medieval composer and mystic, Hildegard of Bingen, and Język Wenus [The Language of Venus] (2012), a sound and visual installation, referring to the author of piano compositions and pianist, Tekla Bądarzewska. In BruitBruit, the combination of musical and visual themes is also significant. This time, the inspiration for the artist was Krystyna Tołłoczko-Różyska (1909–2001), the architect and author of the Municipal Exhibition Pavilion in Kraków – the current Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art.
The work is one of a series of sculptures made from tights filled with down. The material used and the soft shapes achieved connote the female. Simultaneously, however the biological shape placed on a lavatory, reminiscent of faeces, triggers revulsion.
For Monika Drożyńska, embroidery – a technique of centuries-old tradition, which is nowadays regarded as a less typical medium of art – is a form of meditation. The artist’s activity in this field is part of the language of women’s art, which is close to crafts such as sewing, embroidering, and crocheting. Her work, Between words, using the embroidery technique, was implemented by the artist as part of her individual exhibition, After the word, which took place at the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery in 2011.
Zorka Wollny’s work situates itself between theatre, dance, music and visual arts. Her achievements include video films – distinguishing themselves with a pictorial vision – concerts and choreographic performances involving numerous actors (often realized together with Anna Szwajgier). In projects that refer to the form of an audiovisual show, the artist plays the role of director and producer, inviting musicians, actors, and dancers to cooperate, working with members of local communities, amateur clubs, and groups that share common interests. The essential element of her projects is space: works are created as a result of observing the existing conditions created by the architecture of the place, as well as penetrating its private, public, and institutional aspects.
The works of Elżbieta Jabłońska are situated in the sphere of engaged art, commenting on cultural and social clichés. A number of her projects are related to the reinterpretation of the role of women in society, expressed at the same time with irony and fondness. In one of her most-famous works — Supermatka [Supermother], from 2002 – the artist recalls the figure of a woman-superhero, impersonating the characters of Batman, Superman, and Spiderman in a kitchen interior. Her everyday activities become the domain of her heroic activity, usually overlooked and taken for granted. Jabłońska’s activities also include a number of initiatives intended for people who need help. To initiate one of the actions, she was inspired by a job advert found in Łódź, stuck on the wall by a single mother with a child, in a difficult life situation. The artist failed to find the author of the appeal; however, another unemployed woman embroidered the content of the advert into a tapestry and was paid for it with the money from Jabłońska’s fee, (from the cycle Helping), in the exhibition, Kobieta ma duszę [The Woman has a soul], Manhattan Gallery, Łódź, (2003). In subsequent years, Jabłońska began to include other social groups in her actions, in particular, excluded and marginalized people.
The work visualises the process of growth, maturing and decay. Simultaneously, it carries a natural association with the traditional Polish Easter custom of growing from seed water cress, which thus becomes a symbol of new life. The work is also permeated with the longing to be at one with nature, also present in the artist’s other works.
Her work, Wyliczanki (Counting-out Games), consists of three objects – costumes. Each consists of a skirt and a braid. Wide, embroidered skirts, with a circular pattern, inspired by Polish folklore, refer to the character and colours of festive folk costumes. They are made of combined, contrasting materials, with sewn-on patterns of contemporary silhouettes, which the artist juxtaposed with embroidered texts known from children’s plays or songs, such as: Moja Ulijanko, klęknij na kolanko [Little Ula, take a knee], Mam chusteczkę haftowaną [I’ve got an embroidered hankie], Chodzi lisek koło drogi [There’s a little fox strolling along the road side]. The colourful braids, made of old clothes, are long and thick, and therefore also heavy and uncomfortable to wear. The artist called them “cultural braids”, thus suggesting that they function as something artificial, attached.