Alina Szapocznikow. Sculpture Undone 1955-1972
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
"Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972" is the first museum survey in the United States devoted to this Polish artist.
The exhibition brings to light the extraordinary oeuvre of Alina Szapocznikow, one of the most significant yet lesser known sculptors of the 20th century. At the core of Szapocznikow’s art is the ephemeral condition of life and the human body. Her work oscillates between permanence and impermanence, from carvings in Carrara marble to the precarious assemblages of lips and breasts cast in polyester resin. The exhibition includes approximately 60 sculptures and 50 works on paper, as well as a poignant group of photographic works, demonstrating the tremendous range and scope of Alina Szapocznikow’s art.
As a Holocaust survivor who began working in the post-war period in a rather classical, figurative manner, her later experimentation and re-conception of sculpture left behind a legacy of provocative objects – at once sexualized, visceral, humorous, and political – that sit uneasily between Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme, and Pop Art. Her tinted polyester-resin casts of her lips and breasts transformed into quotidian objects like lamps or ashtrays, her spongy polyurethane forms often embedded with casts of bellies or live grass, and her construction of resin sculptures that incorporate found photographs remain as remarkably biting, visionary, and original today as when they were first made. The exhibition features extensive archival materials as well as more than 100 artworks, including drawings and photography alongside Szapocznikow's sculpture and object-making.
"Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972" was organized by WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Travelling to the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio.