Peeling Potatoes

Julita Wójcik

  • type of object: video
  • date: 2001
  • material/technique: video
  • dimensions: 10'5"
  • inventory No.: V-25

The piece documents a performance by Julita Wójcik in Zachęta, during which the artist, dressed in an apron, peeled 50 kg of potatoes. After the performance, a stool, a knife and potato peels were left lying on the floor. The artist explained her intentions as follows: ‘On 12th February 2001, at the exhibition in the Mały Salon in Zachęta, I decided to deal with the national heritage of fine arts as seen in genre scenes depicting everyday life. And to show everyday life. Everyday work. A living artist, a woman working in the kitchen, peeling potatoes. To demystify the unbearably exalted position of the artist. To stage a small coup, a personal revolution out of the kitchen.’

The artist was assisted by the audience, who spontaneously joined her in peeling the potatoes. Among them was Anda Rottenberg, the then director of Zachęta, who at the time was under fire after the scandals surrounding Piotr Uklański’s Nazis and Maurizio Cattelan’s La nona ora, which were destroyed by gallery visitors. In this atmosphere, Wójcik’s work was also considered controversial by the media. It was criticised mainly for the perceived waste of taxpayers’ money, but opposition to the performance had deeper roots. Peeling potatoes in a gallery that was generally considered to be a space for exhibiting important national works of art was seen as a profanation of sacred space.

Audio description: No sound

Other works by artist in the Zachęta collection

  • Zdjęcie pracy Idyll
    IdyllJulita Wójcik2004
  • Zdjęcie pracy Wavy Block
    Wavy BlockJulita Wójcik2005
  • Zdjęcie pracy Feed the Heavenly Birds
    Feed the Heavenly BirdsJulita Wójcik2003
  • Zdjęcie pracy Network of Feeding the Heavenly Birds
    Network of Feeding the Heavenly BirdsJulita Wójcik2004
  • Zdjęcie pracy Wavy Block
    Wavy BlockJulita Wójcik2005

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