Agata Pietrasik. Figures of resistance
Art against War and Fascism in the 20th and 21st centuries

The first part of the conference “Never Again” entitled “Art Against War and Fascism in the 20th and 21st Centuries”, takes up the debate underway in the field of art and elsewhere on the forms of engagement by the artistic community and cultural institutions in historically crucial moments. 

Lecture „Figures of resistance: Maja Berezowska and artists from Ravensbrück” by Agata Pietrasik

Maja Berezowska is an artist known mainly from illustrations, caricatures, and frivolous erotic drawings which appeared in many periodicals and books. Not so well known is the wartime chapter of the artist’s work, when she was a prisoner first at Pawiak in Warsaw and then at the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück. During that time she drew, to paraphrase Georges Didi-Huberman, despite it all, portraying her fellow inmates and life in the camp. In 1946, along with Jadwiga Simon-Pietkiewicz, she organized an exhibition of drawings from Ravensbrück in Sweden, where she stayed after liberation from the camp. The presentation problematizes the concentration-camp works of Berezowska in the context of artistic practices of other inmates at Ravensbrück, including Jadwiga Simon-Pietkiewicz and Maria Hiszpańska, as well as Jeannette L’Herminier and Violette Lecoq. At the centre of these considerations are questions about drawing as a specific medium for recording wartime experiences as well as artistic creativity defined as a practice of resistance.

Agata Pietrasik

art historian. She is a graduate of the University of Warsaw and the Free University of Berlin, where she wrote her doctorate on art in Poland in the 1940s, examining the mutual relations between aesthetics, ethics, and the politics of that decade. She is the co-editor, with Piotr Słodkowski, of Czas debat. Antologia krytyki artystycznej z lat 1945–1954 (A Time of Debates: An Anthology of Artistic Criticism 1945–1954). Her research interests include post-war modernism in Europe, the representation of the Holocaust and the Second World War in the visual arts, and their contemporary political and social contexts. She has won fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris, and currently the Institut national d’histoire de l’art in Paris.

See also:

Other events from that cycle: