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Alina Szapocznikow
at the Hammer Museum, West Los Angeles, California
Recommendation by Diane Calder


Alina Szapocznikow, ''Petit Dessert 1 (Small Dessert 1),'' 1970-71, color polyester resin and glass, 3 3/16 x 4 5/16 x 5 1/8''.

 

Continuing through April 29, 2012

 

Having witnessed first hand the trauma of undeserved death and disintegration of bodies from barbarous inhumanity, the Polish born sculptor and Holocaust survivor Alina Szapocznikow’s defiant celebration of sensuous beauty is unanticipated. The ratio between permanence and temporality in her work reaches a balance with “Self Portrait I” (1966). This peculiarly intriguing bust melds a solid opaque marble foundation of curvaceous suggestion of shoulders and breasts topped by a deliciously ephemeral, flattened, translucent polyester resin head, highlighted with prominent rouged lips. 

 

Szapocznikow’s early sculptural works tend towards the realistic, solid and vertical, but accompanying drawings venture toward early explorations that will be incorporated into three dimensional work later on as she experiments with materials that more naturally respond to the touch of her hand. Her use of intimate objects such as nylon tights compliments the carnal memory of the body referenced in handmade items, including lamps shaped like lips or painted polyethylene cushions cast in the form of a woman’s belly. The artist’s combination of photographic imagery with intimate and pliable materials becomes increasingly effective over time, peaking in a series of photo sculptures that capture agonized, distended shapes formed out of chewed gum. By the time Szapocznikow slides into her own personal mid-life struggle with bone cancer, the progressive dissolution of form in works such as “Invasion of Tumors” (1970) has disintegrated into clumps of entombed memories.

 

Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2012


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