The Letter is a tapestry over ten metres in length which depicts a reconstruction of Tadeusz Kantor’s 1967 happening of the same name. However, Macuga’s gigantic “letter”, carried by eight postmen, is addressed to the Zachęta Gallery, whereas Tadeusz Kantor’s message was sent to the Foksal Gallery. The context here is the history of the Zachęta Gallery, especially in the tempestuous last decade of the 20th century, when contemporary art ignited protests and aggressive reactions (e.g. Daniel Olbrychski’s “sabre-charge” against Piotr Uklański’s work The Nazis, or extreme-right parliamentary deputy Witold Tomczak’s destruction of a Maurizio Cattelan sculpture). During those years, the Zachęta Gallery received many letters with brutal assaults on modern art, the gallery’s staff, and its then director, Anda Rottenberg. Some of those attacks were of an anti-Semitic nature. Goshka Macuga’s work came to commemorate the struggles of people from the art world, as well as the changes in a society which had to give up its prejudices and work through its fears in order to accept artistic freedom.
Ed.: 2+1 AP
Year: 2011 Medium: tapestry
Format: 370×1132 cm
Ownership form: collection Source: Galeria Kate MacCarry Index: MSN: 4300-53/2012 Acquisition date: Dec 28, 2012 Financing source: Purchased with the support of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage