Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre are delighted to announce Katarzyna Kozyra’s first solo exhibition in China, opening on July 16, 2016 at the Beijing branch of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre.
Jointly curated by Beijing-based art critic and curator Manuela Lietti, Warsaw-based curator and Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation Director Anna Walewska, as well as the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre’s in-house curator Chen Shen, this exhibition acts as a retrospective featuring the most significant pieces of Kozyra’s artistic practice. The show, co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland, touches upon all the major issues investigated and questioned in Kozyra’s body of work from the very beginning of her career in the 1990s to the present day. The body, (self-)identity, female physicality, contemporary concepts of beauty and gender, and the often-difficult encounter with the Other are just some of the issues that play a prominent role in Katarzyna Kozyra’s oeuvre, and have also made the artist one of the most acclaimed yet controversial contemporary artists, in Poland and around the world. Thanks to her commitment to such universal issues, Kozyra has also been a key figure in pushing Polish art into the international realm, making it an active player in global contemporary discourse.
Pyramid of Animals, the piece that brought the artist to international prominence and marked her debut in the contemporary art scene, will be partially re-created on site by showing never-before-seen archival materials and drawings that describe the genesis of one of the most controversial pieces of art ever created by a contemporary artist. Four videos (Cheerleader, Diva.Reincarnation, Il Castrato, and Summertale), part of the cycle In Art Dreams Come True, will show the artist’s focus on her own self-definition and on the boundaries within this process that stretch beyond stereotypes and fixed societal roles. Men’s Bathhouse, first exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and for which Kozyra won an honorable mention, will be presented through a selection of video stills and a video. Casting. Mor, focusing on Kozyra’s project for an autobiographical film, will be juxtaposed with her ongoing project Looking for Jesus, a documentary film in which Kozyra is not an actor, but a spectator who investigates the effects and “faces” of the Jerusalem syndrome through the eyes and actions of people who believe themselves to be present-day Messiahs. Self-irony and mockery dominate The Midget’s Gallery, a series of artistic interventions that redefined or at least shed new light on the global art market and the history of art. The exhibition will also feature a completely new site-specific arrangement of two of Kozyra’s major pieces devoted to the world of dance: Faces and The Rite of Spring.
This exhibition highlights the specific yet universal nature of Kozyra’s performative ethos in light of Chinese performance art practice and Chinese contemporary art. Kozyra’s approach is the result of a specific methodology applied to create artworks where performance, documentary, cinema, and photography mix and shape new trajectories for art itself. This blending of genres is rarely found in the work of Chinese artists of the same generation, making her contribution even more valuable.