Dara Birnbaum, Maya Deren, Magdalena Karpińska, Olga Micińska, Mikołaj Sobczak, Paweł Śliwiński, David Wojnarowicz
September 21–23, 2018
The exhibition Wonder Woman confronts the works of contemporary Polish artists with experimental film classics. The title of the exhibition was taken from Dara Birnbaum's film from 1979, Technology / Transformation: Wonder Woman. The video of a New York artist, made of fragments of the television series broadcast by ABC and later CBS in the mid-1970s, consists of scenes in which the protagonist, played by Lynda Carter, turns from secretary Diana Prince into Wonder Woman - Princess Diana. The transformation from a real woman into a superheroine takes place when she spins around in a dazzling explosion. Her pioneering approach to the TV imaginarium became a common strategy among video artists in the 1980s.
The exhibition will also feature Maya Deren's film At Land from 1944, and the 1988 movie Beautiful People, one of the last films by David Wojnarowicz, an American artist who died of AIDS in 1992. Wojnarowicz was a painter, photographer, filmmaker and performer; a key figure in the New York art scene of the 1980s. In July this year, his exhibition entitled David Wojnarowicz. History Keeps Me Awake at Night was opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The sound version of the film Beautiful People ends with a scene in which a man dressed as a woman immerses in a lake, repeating: "I want to escape, I want to become a woman and forget about everything." The project's curators used this sad ending as a starting point to write a more optimistic, surreal and revolutionary narrative. “I want to become a woman" becomes a perverse struggle with the stereotype of supermen.
Using well-known works of art such as The Massacre at Chios by Delacroix, The Raft of the Medusa by Géricault and Beautiful People by Wojnarowicz, Mikołaj Sobczak creates an alternative to the classical depictions of struggles for freedom, showing the moment of victory of the revolution against values related to patriarchy. The previously marginalized groups and persons repressed from the collective memory take over power and begin the existence of a new state.
The works by Magdalena Karpińska and Olga Micińska evoke 'feminine' artistic disciplines, such as weaving and painting on silk. In both cases the properties of the medium are used to achieve a subversive form (Micińska) or subversive content (Karpińska). The inspiration for Magdalena Karpińska's Wonder Woman's Cape was the life history of the originator of the title character of the superhero, psychologist William Moulton Marston, who lived in a polyamorous relationship with Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne. After Marston died in 1947, Elizabeth and Olive continued to live together until Olive's death in 1985.
The exhibition was prepared in cooperation with The Film-Makers' Cooperative, Electronic Arts Intermix, PPOW Gallery and the interactive studio Huncwot. The exhibition will be open only during the Warsaw Gallery Weekend.
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