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Danh Vo at Winsing Art Place, Taipei: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight
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Danh Vo at Winsing Art Place, Taipei: Exhibition Walkthrough

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HomePage Artists

(1926 - 1973), Poland

Alina Szapocznikow Biography

Born in Poland to a Jewish family in 1926, Alina Szapocznikow survived internment in concentration camps during the Holocaust as a teenager. Immediately after the war, she moved first to Prague and then to Paris, studying sculpture at the École des Beaux Arts. In 1951, suffering from tuberculosis, she was forced to return to Poland, where she expanded her practice. When the Polish government loosened controls over creative freedom following Stalin’s death in 1952, Szapocznikow jumped into representation. By the 1960s, she was radically re-conceptualising sculpture as an intimate record not only of her memory, but also of her own body.

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In 1962, Szapocznikow experienced a breakthrough when she began to cast her own body in plaster. Her first work with this approach, Noga (Leg) (1962) depicts the artist’s right leg–a very public statement on the human corpus as vehicle of pleasure, liberation, illness, death, and decomposition. She spoke of this turn in her development: ‘Haunted by the increasingly academic nature of abstract art, and at the same time, partly out of my spirit of contradiction and partly perhaps out of some artistic exhibitionism, I made a cast of my own leg and an assemblage of casts of my face… Fortunately we believe that in art everything has been already, so nothing has been yet.’

Szapocznikow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1969, a turn of events that shaped her later sculptural and photographic efforts. In a series of sculptures titled Tumors, made of resin, gauze, crumpled newspapers, and photographs, the artist gave form to the anxiety and existential challenges of illness. Szapocznikow’s final works express her pointed desire to engage with something deeper and ineffable, physical and psychological, the symptoms of bodily experiences and the traces of what we leave behind. She wrote, ‘Despite everything, I persist in trying to fix in resin the traces of our body: I am convinced that of all the manifestations of the ephemeral, the human body is the most vulnerable, the only source of all joy, all suffering, and all truth.’

Exhibition view: Alina Szapocznikow, To Exalt the Ephemeral: Alina Szapocznikow, 1962 – 1972, Hauser & Wirth, London (7 February–2 May 2020). © ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy the Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski / Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris / and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Alex Delfanne.

Alina Szapocznikow Featured Artworks

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Deser IV (Dessert IV) by Alina Szapocznikow contemporary artwork
Alina SzapocznikowDeser IV (Dessert IV), 1971Coloured polyester resin, glass, electrical wiring and metal
16.5 x 16 x 13.5 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire about this work
Autoportrait (Self-portrait) by Alina Szapocznikow contemporary artwork
Alina SzapocznikowAutoportrait (Self-portrait), 1971Plaster
19 x 30 x 30 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire about this work
Sculpture-lampe (Sculpture-Lamp) by Alina Szapocznikow contemporary artwork
Alina SzapocznikowSculpture-lampe (Sculpture-Lamp), 1970Coloured polyester resin, light bulb, electrical wiring and metal
54 x 37 x 23 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire about this work
Autoportrait (Self-portrait) by Alina Szapocznikow contemporary artwork
Alina SzapocznikowAutoportrait (Self-portrait), 1971Polyester resin and gauze
18 x 29 x 28 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire about this work
Fotorzeźby (Photosculptures) by Alina Szapocznikow contemporary artwork
Alina SzapocznikowFotorzeźby (Photosculptures), 1971/2007Twenty gelatin silver prints and collage with text on paper
24 x 30 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire about this work
Iluminowana (Illuminated Woman) by Alina Szapocznikow contemporary artwork
Alina SzapocznikowIluminowana (Illuminated Woman), 1966–1967Plaster, coloured polyester resin, electrical wiring and metal
155 x 57 x 40 cm
Blum & Poe Enquire about this work
Ventre-coussin (Belly cushion) by Alina Szapocznikow contemporary artwork
Alina SzapocznikowVentre-coussin (Belly cushion), 1968Polyurethane foam
27.9 x 30.5 x 17.8 cm
Hauser & Wirth Enquire about this work

Alina Szapocznikow Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Alina Szapocznikow, To Exalt the Ephemeral: Alina Szapocznikow, 1962 – 1972 at Hauser & Wirth, London
Open Now
7 February–2 May 2020 Alina Szapocznikow To Exalt the Ephemeral: Alina Szapocznikow, 1962 – 1972 Hauser & Wirth, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, New Images of Man at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Open Now
1 February–14 March 2020 Group Exhibition New Images of Man Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Contemporary art exhibition, Alina Szapocznikow, To Exalt the Ephemeral: Alina Szapocznikow, 1962 – 1972 at Hauser & Wirth, New York
Closed
29 October–21 December 2019 Alina Szapocznikow To Exalt the Ephemeral: Alina Szapocznikow, 1962 – 1972 Hauser & Wirth, 69th Street, New York

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