Goshka Macuga. Untitled Untitled
03.12.2011 – 19.02.2012 Goshka Macuga. Untitled Untitled
curator: Maria Brewińska
collaboration: Katarzyna Kołodziej
Goshka Macuga’s practice encompasses the roles of an artist, curator, collector, researcher and exhibition designer. She develops complex projects based on archive, historical, and scientific material, films, photographs, objects, sculptures, installation, architecture, art history, tapestries, as well as her own works and those of other artists. Placing them in a new context, Macuga combines past facts with topical issues and present-day reality, highlighting affinities and connections, revealing that which might pass unnoticed or be repressed. She belongs to a group of artists who draw on the formal tradition of Modernism. While often minimal in form, her exhibitions hold multiple layers of meaning and do not easily lend themselves to identification, leaving ample room for interpretation.
For many years now Goshka Macuga has been pursuing her own methodology, unique in comparison to the practice of other contemporary artists, and reminiscent of certain artistic strategies from the past (like those of Marcel Broodthaers). Developing new works, or exhibitions that become exhibits in themselves, Macuga frequently begins with the history of their sites: researching the collections of hosting institutions, the biographies and oeuvres of other artists, as well as establishing direct collaborations with them. By including others’ work in her exhibitions — and thus blurring the boundaries between artist and curator — Macuga often transforms them, and questions the notion of authorship.
Goshka Macuga’s exhibition Bez tytułu / Untitled in Warsaw’s Zachęta National Gallery of Art marks the first solo presentation of the artist’s work in a public institution in Poland. At the heart of the project is the theme of censorship in Polish art after 1989, and the attacks leveled at artworks, artists, curators, directors, and institutions. The most infamous events, including acts of destroying artworks as well as nationalistic and anti-Semitic attacks, took place in the context of exhibitions at Zachęta. Working on the project, Macuga adopted her already typical method of delving into the archives of the hosting institution. As always, the artist draws on documents, exhibition documentation, portfolios of artists whose work was presented in Zachęta, long shelves of binders with press clippings and photographs, as well as guest books, feedback books, emails and letters, including private correspondence addressed to Zachęta. Macuga not only chose to include the bulk of the surviving material on the subject in the exhibition, but also used it as a point of departure for new works (the Zachęta show presents exclusively new works), inspired by the practice of other artists: Tadeusz Kantor, Oscar Bony, and Richard Hamilton. Alongside the 14 metre notice board with press-cuttings, documents and letters, at the exhibition can be found lithographies, serigraphs, a monumental sculpture and a photo-Gobelin.In contrast to Macuga’s past projects, which showcased complex pieces in an intricate network of mutual relations, the works in Zachęta seem to be bound by a clear narrative that encompasses the themes of censorship in the gallery context and beyond.
Goshka Macuga was born in 1967 in Warsaw. She studied at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and in Goldsmiths College in London. In 2008, she was amongst the four nominees for the prestigious Turner Prize, awarded to the most outstanding young British artist. She has exhibited in such galleries as Whitechapel and Tate Britain in London and in Kunsthalle Basel. In April 2011, she opened an individual exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She is also participating in the forthcoming edition of the Documenta in Kassel. The winner of the Arnold Bode Prize 2011. She lives and works in London.
The exhibition supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
Goshka Macuga. Untitled
03.12.2011 – 19.02.2012
Zachęta National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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sponsor of the exhibition: OKI
sponsors of the gallery: PERI, Netia, Lidex
sponsors of the opening ceremony: DeLonghi, Kenwood, Blikle, Freixenet, Kinga Pienińska
media patroange: Gazeta Wyborcza, TOK FM, The Warsaw Voice, Stolica, Art&Business, Artinfo.pl, Malemen