We are looking at a second skin – an abject remnant in which the imprint of the body is fixed. The waste, photographed moments before it was thrown away, seduces with its ephemeral beauty despite the germinating aversion. Not insignificantly, the worn mask, while becoming a metonymy of consumption, simultaneously allows itself to be read through the prism of transcultural masquerade: theatrical illusion, but also primordial spirituality and rite of passage. It is not only part of a contemporary ritual – an aggressive beauty performance – but also a mask and therefore, as Mircea Eliade wants, an instrument of change. A prop that makes what is dead come alive and what is alive become dead .
The tribal belief in the existence of some higher power also reverberates in the second cycle, “Figura wotywna” (The Votive Figure). The artist photographs herself here – her body and its fragments – in a retro-futuristic setting straight out of sci-fi movies, but also in interiors that at times are deceptively reminiscent of the facilities of a medical aesthetic salon, at other times look like luxurious boudoirs. The key role is played by wax. It douses, melts, drips, cracks, and crumbles. (…)
The sterile but also minimalist aesthetic of these self-portraits on the one hand refers back to advertising, and on the other, arouses anxiety – it encodes the frames of the aforementioned Almodovar film, where beauty is inextricably intertwined with violence, and comments on the cult of the perfect, non-existent, other than on screen, body. In other words, the whole thing breathes perversion – it is lined with a subtle eroticism without intimacy that, while accentuating alienation, directs our gaze towards essential emptiness. A bit like in “Villa dei Misteri,” a painting by Jerzy Nowosielski, where the deconstructed body, playing a cat-and-mouse game with us, a spectacle of glances and mirror reflections, simultaneously makes it interesting not what is seen, but what is hidden from us.
Anna Batko, part of txt “Skin talk” from catalogue
Marta Zgierska. A visual artist. Graduated in photography from the National Film School in Łódź (diploma in the studio of Prof. Grzegorz Przyborek); currently working on her PhD under the supervision of Robert Kuśmirowski. In her artistic practice and theoretical research, she addresses the themes of trauma, liminal experiences and the tensions associated with them. She works with her own body, objects and space. She gives these themes a personal touch, often placing herself in the role of an object of performative action. She explores the theme of disengagement, looking for a way to describe alternative sensitivities in the context of an over-stimulated and increasingly exhausted society.
Her début series “Post” won the prestigious Prix HSBC pour la Photographie in Paris (2016). Multiple scholarship recipient, award winner and author of many international exhibitions. She has been nominated for the Foam Paul Huf Award (2018, 2021) and the DZ BANK Art Collection Fellowship (2019). In 2019, she was named Artist of the Year at the DongGang International Photography Festival in South Korea. Represented by Gowen Contemporary in Geneva. Editor-in-chief of the magazine Postmedium. In 2023, she qualified for the Ars Electronica Founding Lab programme.
curator – Karolina Rybka
Start 25.01.2024, 6 pm