“Conversio” – Malgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka

Conversio- project description

The project “Conversio” is a multi-element textual and visual narration based on the stories of migrant women from Europe and postcolonial countries to the UK. Its heroines are women of different ages, with different ethnic backgrounds, speaking different languages, who for economic, health, family or others have left their home countries. In Latin “Conversio” means conversion, exchange, circulation. It refers to both the Polish “konwersja”, “wymiana”, “przemiana” and the British “converse” or “conversion”, indicating either conversation and/or adaptation, inclusion in the new community and the changes made under new life conditions

The project is based on the biographical method -a series of conversations led by artist with migrant women. Another method of work is a series of literary and artistic workshops, during which migrants describe or visualize their stories. On the basis of the collected material artist prepare video-animations. Additional elements of the “Conversio” will include neon-diptych objects and print publications.
During the residency, artist will track the process of adoption experienced by women who begin their life under new economic, cultural and social conditions, as well as observe necessary re-evaluations in the face of change. “Conversio” is kind of documentation functioning between cultural barriers, language blockades and the limitations of the body. At the same time, the aim of the project is to discuss the notion of femininity understood as a representation of culture. Examines female corporeality in terms of historical memory

“Conversio” is a multi-voiced dialogue with history which to the early 90s of the twentieth century has been examined mainly from the perspective of the universal West. In this context, the project focuses on the attitudes of exclusion (migrants, stateless persons), and will constitute a platform type of translation between the East and the West.
In “Conversio” artist on the metaphor proposed by Elizabeth Grosz, who perceives the body as a Moebius ribbon in which the body is an internal penetrating and permeating with the outer reality, upon which is written a sort of cultural tattoo. That’s why artist turns towards the diversity of the bodily expression and discourse and proposes assumptions based on the premise that here does not exist the common pattern and the idea of the body and a singular applicable image for the different cultures.
Methods of working:

1. Work on the project is mainly based on the biographical method (thematic autobiography, psychobiographical, historical autobiography and documents), a series of interviews with about migrant women settled in Birmingham. UK. These are women with various ethnic and social backgrounds, of different ages, using different languages.

2. The creation of animations accompanied by a series of literary and artistic workshops carried out with women and consisting on describing their stories in their native language or creating visual narrations.

Residency dates: 2/8/2015-2/9/2015

Exhibition dates: 2/9/2015- 12/10/2015

Funded by


Malgorzta Dawidek- bio

Malgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka isavisual artist, Polish born, based in London. She studied Painting (1996-2001) and Art Criticism (1997-2002) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, Poland and hold a PhD in art history from the Institute of Art History at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (2009). Between 2004 and 2007 she was an academic teacher in Institute of History of Art at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and Professor Assistant in Department of Painting at Academy of Fine Art in Poznań, Poland. Since 2013 she is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of European Culture at The Polish University Abroad in London.

Dawidek Gryglicka’s artistic and academic interests combine literature, anthropology and visual arts. She deals with the language aspect of communication – the relationship between words and their visual representations, their designata. From this perspective, she analyzes issues of language awareness, the borders and possibilities of language, as well as the human body and corporeality perceived as a reality text. She uses texts of the body to talk about organic physicality, which appears to be a continuous narration, the text in process, polymorphic stories. She is interested in the limit states of the body, aspects of gender, inexpressible emotions, physical limitations and mental blockages.

Malgorzata combines a wide range of media in the creation of her projects – textual objects and installations, painting, animation, photographs, written drawings and hypertexts which are then displayed in galleries, public spaces and as published works of art and record.

Her relevant artistic achievements include solo shows in the most influential galleries [Bialystok BWA Gallery, Foksal Gallery in Warsaw] and museums [Wroclaw Contemporary Museum] in Poland, as well as participation in numerous group’s projects in Poland, Slovakia, Germany and Spain. In 2013, she took a part in a key event – The Culture for the Eastern Partnership Congress in Lublin. In 2012, she was chosen to participate in the prestigious Curators’ NETWORK project, the goal of which is to support the work of an international group of artists and curators selected by a jury of prominent critics from various European countries. In 2014 she was selected to take a part in SOMETIMES Artistic Residency, The Art House, Wakefield, UK.

She is also a researcher of visual literature and the author of numerous articles, studies and books on visual texts, including “A Piece of Poetry” (Krakow-Warsaw 2012) and “History of the visual text. Poland after 1967″ (Wroclaw-Krakow-Warsaw 2012), which was awarded of the National Centre of Culture in Poland Prize for the for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of culture studies (2010).

Malgorzata Dawidek Gryglicka was awarded artistic grants from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2002, 2010), the “Young Poland” Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage scholarship for young artists (2012), the Mayor of Poznan award (2005) and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation artistic grant (2004-2005).