Susan Mogul What Becomes a Legend Most?
05.08 – 30.10.2022 Susan Mogul What Becomes a Legend Most?
curator: Michał Jachuła
Susan Mogul’s exhibition takes a closer look at her innovative creative practice from the 1970 to the present day. The presentation of the work of the American artist — who was born in New York but has lived and worked in Los Angeles since the 1970s — will include video productions as well as her most recent films, objects and works on paper. The exhibition includes iconic and previously rarely shown works by Mogul, as well as recent works prepared especially for Zachęta.
The show will feature nearly twenty works selected from the artist’s versatile and complex oeuvre. They touch on important issues such as the position of women, social changes in customs, family ties and the artist’s relationship with her mother. The main theme of Mogul’s art is memory in autobiographical dimension, with a particular focus on the feminist perspective. The artist draws on the language of advertising, film and the mechanisms of wider promotion, which in the visual arts does not necessarily translate arts into commercial success and presence in the cultural canon. Since the beginning of her artistic career, Susan Mogul has subordinated her life to art. Her works, characterised by conceptual rigour, sensitivity and a sense of humour, define both her identity as a human being and as a citizen.
Although Mogul’s oeuvre includes mainly video and film works, her art seeks to break through and transcend the boundaries of this medium, as will be seen in the exhibition, in which text, both spoken and printed, plays an important role, alongside images that have a narrative function. This is the nature of the premiere Mogul works of 2022 shown at the Zachęta, including the series of photographs What becomes a Legend most? featuring the artist, complemented by texts in Polish, English and Yiddish: Susan Mogul, the septuagenarian, anticipates her first solo museum exhibition, all refer to Blackglama’s fur campaign, in which senior celebrities from the world of art and culture advertised hard-to-photograph black furs. The artist’s critical reflection on the question of age, the recognition of women’s achievements, but also the use of their image for commercial purposes, resounds here. With an even more performative and narrative dimension are the paper shopping bags (2019) and the works that are part of the Tales from the Mogul Archive series (2022). These are intimate statements by the author, combining images and text in carefully composed arrangements, showing the complex relationship between life and art.
Susan Mogul’s solo exhibition at the Zachęta Gallery reflects on the place of this outstanding artist with an enormous creative output in history and her current position in the visual arts, and more broadly on women’s art in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Susan Mogul studied at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) as part of the famed Feminist Art Program run by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. Already during her studies, she produced video works, performances and photographs, using her own body as subject and material to explore female subjectivity. She quickly became a pioneer in addressing feminist issues, starting with those related to gender inequality and family upbringing, which often aroused objections as being in opposition to education and the norms of life in society. Her work should be read as an expression of personal commitment and a statement by a female artist about a male-dominated world.
What Becomes a Legend Most?
05.08 – 30.10.2022
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.
Supported by Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant: