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Exhibition

W A (Y) S T (O) E D F R E E D O M by Malgorzata Drohomirecka

The newest exhibition by London-based, Polish painter Malgorzata Drohomirecka, exploring how visual representations in patriarchal society objectify women as the symbol of a community and the embodiment of its 'culture and traditions'.

In the 19th century, Poland was often depicted in paintings as a female figure called ‘Polonia’. The series of paintings by Malgorzata Drohomirecka presented at the exhibition: W A (Y) S T (O) E D F R E E D O M alludes to those depictions from a 21st century point of view and transforms the national ritual of martyrdom into a sadomasochistic subversion.

Using famous Polish paintings from the 19th century as an example, it explores how visual representations in patriarchal society objectify women as the symbol of a community and the embodiment of its 'culture and traditions'.

In 19th century, creating an allegorical formulation of ‘Polonia’ as a symbol of national martyrdom had a great influence in shaping the collective imagination in Poland. While men were portrayed as players who shape the public discourse, women were depicted as subservient creatures. This vision of woman as a human sacrifice is deeply rooted in patriarchal culture. By exaggerating the masochistic characters of ‘Polonia’ in this cycle of paintings, a space for overcoming this defensive position, opens up.

The masochist ‘Polonia’ becomes ‘insolent in her obsequiousness, rebellious in her submission. Her apparent obedience conceals a criticism and a provocation’ [Deleuze]. Adaptations of Polonia borrowed from iconic polish paintings of famous painters like Jan Matejko, Jacek Malczewski and Stanisław Wyspiański are inserted into various contemporary environments. Kitsch, bright, saturated colors also refer to aesthetics of post-internet and sit next to techniques of the traditional oil painting.

Curated by Marta Grabowska.

Kindly supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.

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BIO

Malgorzata Drohomirecka is a visual artist. Her practice intertwines painting, printmaking and film. In her latest series of paintings, she analyses “visual representations of femininity in the paintings of the greatest masters of 19th-century Polish painting”. By engaging with motives from popular films, music videos and stock images, Malgorzata challenges those traditional depictions from a 21st century point of view.

She studied Painting at Academy of Fine Arts, Gdansk (Poland). After completing her master’s degree in 2006 she moved to London, where she lives and works since. In 2020 she was awarded a Scholarship from Polish Ministry of Culture for the realization of the online project Polonia_2020. In 2021 an essay by Izabela Morska about her series of paintings Polonia_2020 was published in Czas Kultury, [Time of Culture] (1/2021). Her recent solo exhibition was at Żak Gallery/ Spider-Phoenix /Gdansk (2019). She showed her analogue film at Apiary Studios/ Contact: A Festival of New Experimental Film and Video / London (2016).

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Centrala

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