Feminist conceptual artist Ewa Partum displays in Regensburg | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Schon bei der Abschlussprüfung an der Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Warschau führt sie ihre Lehrer an der Nase herum: Sie reicht zwei Bilder von Tadeusz Kantor als ihre eigenen ein, was ihren Prüfern prompt entgeht. Die Ausbildung an der Akademie sei doch auch nur eine Anleitung zum Plagiat, weil sie dazu auffordere, den Lehrern nachzueifern, verfügt die 1945 in Grodzisk Mazowiecki geborene Ewa Partum. Und das will sie nun gerade nicht: Statt zu malen, legt sie sich auf eine Leinwand, zieht ihren Körper als Umriss nach, lässt ihre Stiefel daneben stehen und verschwindet aus dem Bild.

Bereits in ihren Anfängen als feministische Konzeptkünstlerin ist sie so rebellisch und subversiv, dass ihre politische Botschaft gar nicht anzukommen droht. Denn von solchen künstlerischen Umtrieben hatte man womöglich im Polen der Siebzigerjahre noch nichts gehört. Partum stellt 1971 etwa auf dem Friedensplatz in Łódź ein Schilderwäldchen auf, das den Titel „Die Legalität des Raums“ trägt. Darunter Tafeln mit der Aufschrift „Alles verboten“, „Erlauben verboten“ und „Verbieten verboten“. Anstatt die Kunstaktion zu beenden, bewacht die Polizei die Installation sogar ein paar Tage lang. Die Aktion passt nicht ins Bild der Staatsmacht.

„Self-Identification“ aus dem Jahr 1980
“Self-Identification” from 1980Courtesy Ewa Partum © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

The exhibition within the Ostdeutsche Galerie artwork discussion board, curated by the host Agnes Tieze, is Ewa Partum's first solo exhibition in a museum. Combined with the award of the Lovis Corinth Prize, value 10,000 euros, it’s a tribute to a girl whose worldwide repute within the historical past of feminist artwork is larger than the popularity she has acquired. Partum was undoubtedly forward of her time in Catholic Poland when she introduced in 1974 that she needed to seem bare till equality between women and men was achieved. An idea that runs the chance of changing into out of date.

Expectations of voyeuristically amazed males

For the efficiency “Change. My problem is a problem of a woman” fifty years in the past, Partum had the suitable half of her face after which her complete physique painted to look previous, so as to protest in opposition to the standard function mannequin for ladies. Like all her actions, this one can also be documented photographically; Partum places up 600 posters in Warsaw to convey her message to the general public. But she will additionally strike a quieter tone; in “poems by ewa” she garnishes sentimental statements (“my touch is a touch of a woman”) with a crimson kissing mouth, and staples a pile of letters in plastic wrap that alludes to Joyce's “Ulysses” onto the web page.

Ewa Partum at the award ceremony of the Lovis Corinth Prize
Ewa Partum on the award ceremony of the Lovis Corinth Prizealtrofoto.de

While she designed costumes for the movie business as a day job, she established connections with the mail artwork scene past the Iron Curtain by the Adres gallery she based; one in all Partum's early supporters from the West was Wolf Vostell. In 1981, as a part of the efficiency “Stupid Woman,” she performed with the expectations of males who voyeuristically admired her, asking them to kiss her whereas she sang Marcel Duchamp's “The Bride Stripped Naked by Her Bachelors, Even.”

Mix of enormous format and cupboard, video and showcase

But after the introduction of martial regulation, Partum noticed no future in Poland. In 1982 she managed to flee to Berlin, the place she discovered a house within the Wewerka Gallery and nonetheless lives at present. In 1983 she took issues into her personal arms with the “Hair Concert – Hommage à Chopin” by reducing her hair till it shaped a pile that introduced the report participant, on which a Chopin LP was spinning, to a halt. Her 1984 efficiency “Pirouette”, during which the artist, dressed solely in skates, turns a mirror right into a pile of damaged glass, nonetheless has disturbing potential at present.

Making conceptual artwork tangible by images or movies with out sound isn’t any simple activity. The Regensburg exhibition makes an attempt to do that with a mixture of massive format and cupboard, video and show case. The massive corridor is dominated by the work “East-West Shadows” from 1984, seven large-format images lined up subsequent to one another present Partum bare and in excessive heels in entrance of the Berlin Wall, holding the letters O(st) and W(est) in every hand. A medium that she makes use of many times: the twelve centimetre-high cardboard letters widespread in Poland have been used for propaganda slogans on info boards. Partum throws them into the panorama or into the water, actually letting the wind blow them away. In Germany she found self-adhesive letters and mixed these with the Polish ones to create three-dimensional paper landscapes. Her lifelong fascination with writing can also be mirrored in the whole room-filling set up “Letters to Milena, Franz Kafka (Fragment)” from 2019, which lets a letter from Kafka damaged down into 3,178 letters dangle from the ceiling of the corridor – an ideal touchdown within the Kafka 12 months.

Ewa Partum. My contact is a contact of a girl. Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg; till September eighth. The catalogue prices 18 euros.