The Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Untitled, Goshka Macuga’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. The show is comprised of works that were recently shown at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, which was the first major presentation of her work in a public institution in Poland.
At the core of the show lies the theme of censorship in Polish art after 1989 and the related attacks against artists, curators, directors and cultural institutions. For the project Macuga adopted her characteristic method of delving into the archives of the hosting institution and drew upon exhibition documentation, artist portfolios, press clippings and photographs, as well as guest books, emails and letters, including private correspondence addressed to Zachęta. The show features a tapestry taken from a photograph of a protest (originally a 1967 happening by that the artist Tadeusz Kantor) that the artist re-enacted – in which 7 postmen deliver a letter addressed to Zachęta. The original “letter” was subsequently destroyed by the viewers – but Macuga’s letter was not – and thus serves the role as prop – or evidence.
The exhibit will also feature large-scale photographs in which the main figures have been silkscreened out – or redacted from the image. The photos were taken from the Zachęta’s own archives and feature those artists and curators such as Adam Szymczyck and Piotr Uklanski - at the opening of their exhibition The Nazi’s- which was later attacked by a famous Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski with a sword; and a portrait Anda Rottenberg who was attacked for displaying Maurizio Cattelan’s La Nona Ora – which was later destroyed by two Polish MP’s. Macuga also displays this act of violent censorship with a triptych of images of the damage to this same sculpture (which features Pope John Paul II felled by a meteor) – serving as a reminder that the work’s destruction was a symbolic gesture as well as an act of vandalism.
Through addressing censorship in Poland during the Culture Wars the exhibition attempts to analyze the mechanism by which demagogy replaces education, and politics interferes with art.
Goshka Macuga was born in Warsaw and studied at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and in Goldsmiths College in London. In 2008, she was amongst the four nominees for the Turner Prize. She has had solo projects at the Whitechapel and Tate Britain in London, at the Kunsthalle Basel and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She was included in Documenta 2012 and was the recipient of the Arnold Bode Prize. Her first American survey show will take place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, curated by Dieter Roelstraete. She currently lives and works in London.