Ewa Partum: The Legality of Space - 1Ewa Partum: The Legality of Space - 2

Ewa Partum: The Legality of Space

[ Exhibition ]
Exhibition – Publication – Workshop

“Ewa Partum: The Legality of Space” is designed as an atypical, synchronic retrospective of the work of Ewa Partum, the eminent Polish early conceptual and feminist artist. Partum’s career started in 1965; in the 1980s she left Poland and settled down in Berlin by invitation of Wolf Vostell. The project looks at the creative output of this legendary figure from today’s point of view: so far, her achievements have not been sufficiently examined in critical reflections on conceptual art in Poland, nor are they significantly represented in Polish art collections. Thus the aim of the exhibition, publication, workshop, and panel discussion is to counteract the fragmentary reception of her oeuvre, and to reconstruct the most important, original, and innovative themes and methods in her art. Moreover, the project addresses the issue of documenting ephemeral art, asks about the roles of recording and re-enactment, and makes use of archival material to broaden the view on Ewa Partum’s art.

The project title originates from a conceptual installation that Partum presented in 1971 at Plac Wolności (Freedom Square) in Łódź. The title is also meant to serve as a conceptual tool: for asking about the role of the female artist and that of being a woman in public discourse from the 1960s up to the present, and for investigating the perception of feminist and conceptual art as well as the impact of a female artist’s public image on the reception of her art. In this connection, the exhibition features several documentary recordings of Ewa Partum’s performances and speeches, along with the films from the 1970s and 1980s that tried to capture the phenomenon of Partum. Although the bulk of the exhibition consists of earlier works, it also presents newly developed projects that show a significant shift in the artist’s area of interest – her piercing criticism of economy and politics as well as her institutional critique.
Additional creative material from Partum’s impressive output outlines the artist’s private space and defines the presence of a woman in public space. Thus the exhibition at Wyspa Institute of Art brings together the most important thematic and formal aspects of Ewa Partum’s art and portrays their interrelations. It furthermore establishes contextual connections with the tradition of conceptual art and its musealisation and with the specific location at Gdańsk shipyard. Parts of the exhibition will also be shown in public space, so that some of Partum’s older works may confront the new cultural and political reality. This juxtaposition generates new meanings and stimulates new perspectives on works that still ask essential questions and are highly topical even today.

A workshop for young performance artists, curated and run by the art historian Berenika Partum, the artist’s daughter, precedes the exhibition. It will be held from 1 to 7 June 2006. In the course of the workshop, early performances by Ewa Partum will be analysed, re-enacted, and transferred into a new artistic, political, and architectural context. The artist herself will be present in some part of the workshop. The new versions of the performances will be documented on video and photographs.

The book “Ewa Partum”, edited by Aneta Szyłak and Ewa Tatar (with texts by the editors and Dorota Monkiewicz, Grzegorz Dziamski, Andrzej Turowski, Łukasz Ronduda, and Angelika Stepken), will be published in September 2006. It brings together a variety of positions on the interpretation of Ewa Partum’s art, contains detailed information on her output, especially its chronology, and expounds the specific problems behind the themes of her art. The book is being prepared and will be co-published and distributed in collaboration with Revolver Archiv für aktuelle Kunst, Frankfurt (Main).

„Ewa Partum“
Edited by Aneta Szyłak and Ewa Tatar
Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdańsk
Revolver Archiv für aktuelle Kunst, Frankfurt am Main
The book – with texts in English and Polish – will appear in December 2006.

Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdańsk

17 June – 24 September 2006
Opening: 17 June 2006, 7 p.m.
Workshop: 1–7 June 2006

Participating Institution
Fundacja Wyspa Progress, Gdańsk

Workshop for Young Performers