Szylak Aneta, Malgorzata Tatar Ewa, Ewa Partum, Gdansk, Insytut Sztuki Wyspa, 2013→
Stepken A. (ed.), Ewa Partum, 1965-2001, exh. cat., Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe ; National Museum, Varsovie (2001), Berlin, Vice Versa, 2001
Ewa Partum: The Legality of Space, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdańsk, 2006→
Ewa Partum, 1965-2001, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe ; National Museum, Varsovie, 2001
Polish multimedia artist.
Part of the first generation of Polish conceptual artists, Ewa Partum paved the way for feminist performance and body art, testifying to the political activism of the former Eastern Europe. Affirming that “any act of thought is an act of art”, she focuses on the political economy of signs and the materialisation of language in her actions and installations in public space, as well as in her mail art or visual or “active” poetry. In 1983, after finally obtaining her visa, she left Poland and moved to Berlin. In the early 1970s, after studies in Łódź and Warsaw, she founded the Adres gallery in her own apartment. The gallery remained active for five years and was dedicated to conceptual art, mail art, and theory. In the same period, she created her first installations and actions connected to poetry, in public space, or a natural environment: in The Legality of Space (1971), and Poem by Ewa (1971), the letters her poems form are cut out and thrown into the sea or the street.
In 1976, she created Drawing TV, a video performance in which she draws the lines and silhouettes of a television show onto the screen, with a felt-tip pen. From 1974 onwards, the artist created the first chapter of Change, one of the founding feminist performances, which she later echoed, four years later, with Change: My Problem Is a Woman’s Problem (1978-1979). In these two installations, a make-up artist aged half of the artist’s face and body, who described her body as an “artwork” at the end of the performance. In 1980, she produced her famous series of photomontages, Auto-Identification, which derive from her protest against the standardised role of women in a highly patriarchal communist society: she walked naked through various public spaces, notably in front of the building of the communist parliament, near a commemorative statue of Warsaw. The government forbid the publication of this work for a year. Several years later in Berlin, the artist again presented herself naked, in front of the famous Wall, holding two letters in her hands W (West) and O (Ost) (Ost-WestSchatten, 1984).
Ewa Partum, The Legality of Space, 21-23 April 1971, installation on Freedom Square, Lodz, © ADAGP, Paris
Ewa Partum, Films by Ewa, Taulogical Cinema Still, 1973-74, still video, 19.7 x 14.9 cm, © ADAGP, Paris
Ewa Partum, Stupid woman, 20 November 1981, black and white photography / performance, © ADAGP, Paris
Ewa Partum, Hommage a Solidarnosc, 1982, black and white photography / performance in Gallery Underground, © ADAGP, Paris
Ewa Partum, Catastrophes Happen Daily, Art is Rare, 2001, installation in Gallery Foto-Medium-Art, Cracovie, © ADAGP, Paris
Ewa Partum, Active poetry Tadeusz Pieper’s, Infinitives, 2009, black and white photograph / performance, © Photo: Zofia Waligora, © ADAGP, Paris