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Monday, 30 March 2015

Talent: Alina Szapocznikow


Alina Szapocznikow
May 16, 1926 – March 2, 1973, was a Polish sculptor.

As a Jew, she was imprisoned in German Nazi concentration camps. She was the wife of Polish graphic designer Roman Cieślewicz. She produced casts of her body and later of her son's body.
Growing up in occupied Poland during World War II, Szapocznikow spent most of her adolescent years between Nazi ghettos and concentration camps. Having survived the horrors of the Holocaust, Szapocznikow started training as a sculptor in Otokar Velimski's studio in Prague. The artist was exposed to and inspired by the works of Jean Arp, Ossip Zadkine, Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti. Working mainly in bronze and stone, Szapocznikow's early artistic production constitutes the first materially documented trace of her own embodiment. 

In 1963, the artist began to combine fragmented body parts with revolutionary sculpting materials including polyester and polyurethane. Such technical innovation allowed Szapocznikow to immortalize a personal language informed by her exposure to death in childhood, traumatic memories of the Holocaust, as well as witnessing the premature collapse of her own body due to tuberculosis. In 1968 the artist was diagnosed with breast cancer. That same year Szapocznikow started making her "tumour" sculptures using resin, gauze, crumpled newspapers and photographs. Through casts of the human body, the artist intended to preserve the impermanence of the body as a source of pain, trauma and truth. (source)

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