Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972

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Petit Dessert I (Small Dessert I), 1970–71 Colored Polyester Resin And Glass 3 3/16 X 4 5/16 X 5 1/8″ (8 X 11 X 13 Cm) © Courtesy of The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow/Piotr Stanisławski/ADAGP, Paris
(Macierzyństwo) (Madonna of Krużlowa [Motherhood]) , 1969 Colored Polyester Resin, Photographs, Gauze 42 X 52 X 18 Cm © The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow/Piotr Stanisławski/ADAGP, Paris. The Alina Szapocznikow Archive/Piotr Stanisławski/National Museum in Kraków. Photo courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
illuminée (Illuminated Woman) , 1966–67 Plaster, Colored Polyester Resin, Electrical Wiring 155 X 57 X 40 Cm © Fabrice Gousset, Paris, courtesy Piotr Stanisławski and Galerie Gisela Capitain GmbH, Cologne © The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow/Piotr Stanisławski/ADAGP, Paris
Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972
Curated by: Connie Butler

11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
October 7th, 2012 - January 28th, 2013
Opening: October 7th, 2012 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Wed-Mon 10:30 - 5:30; Fri 10:30 - 8:00
photography, sculpture


A sculptor who began working during the postwar period in a classical figurative style, Alina Szapocznikow radically reconceptualized sculpture as an imprint not only of memory but also of her own body. Though her career effectively spanned less than two decades (cut short by the artist’s premature death in 1973 at age 47), Szapocznikow left behind a legacy of provocative objects that evoke Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme, and Pop art. Her tinted polyester casts of body parts, often transformed into everyday objects like lamps or ashtrays; her poured polyurethane forms; and her elaborately constructed sculptures, which at times incorporated photographs, clothing, or car parts, all remain as wonderfully idiosyncratic and culturally resonant today as when they were first made. Well known in Poland, where her work has been highly influential since early in her career, Szapocznikow’s compelling book of work is ripe for art historical reexamination. Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972 offers a comprehensive overview of this important artist’s work at a moment when international interest is blossoming. Spanning one of the most rich and complex periods of the 20th century, Szapocznikow’s oeuvre responds to many of the ideological and artistic developments of her time through artwork that is at once fragmented and transformative, sensual and reflective, playfully realized and politically charged.

Featuring over 100 works, including sculpture, drawings, and photography, the exhibition draws on loans from private and public collections, including major institutions in Poland. It is accompanied by a major publication, copublished by The Museum of Modern Art and Mercatorfonds, that reflects new scholarship on Szapocznikow, contextualizing this little known artist’s work for a wider audience.