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"Barbara Kozlowska. You can see it all anywhere" - exhibition at the Wrocław Contemporary Museum

24 of July '20

The Contemporary Museum in Wroclaw is hosting an exhibition dedicated to Barbara Kozlowska , a multimedia artist little known in Poland. The exhibition is, in a way, an attempt to create her monograph, to get to know the artist through her work. All this is possible, thanks to the availability of Barbara Kozlowska's private archive.

I was born in poland I exhibited a lot and always where I didn't want to exhibit where I wanted to exhibit I never exhibited I traveled I performed I went where I wanted to go for important artistic reasons I traveled by all available means of transportation as far as possible I performed on beaches in galleries andon video I was building I was transferring I was repeating something I was building theoretical models of concepts I was transferring a boundary line to the moon and somewhere I was always repeating the same banal sentences about art andreality or always the same banal truth about art I wrote the obvious about something there I took part in exhibitions in poland romania great britain italy yugoslavia I traveled to siberia to great britain to malta to italy yugoslavia france

This is Barbara Kozlowska's (1940-2008) voice about herself. In this form, as a kind of text-object, the autobiogram often accompanied her exhibitions. It speaks of the things most important to the artist: movement, travel, space and its traversal, the study of "ordinary" reality, invariably preoccupying her, which she expressed by formulating, among other things, the key phrase that defines her work: "You can see it all anywhere." Kozlowska wrote a lot about her work, but only a small part of these texts were published. "Known and unknown" - this is how Zbigniew Makarewicz [1], privately the artist's husband and co-author of some of her works, referred to her.

Barbara Kozłowska. Wystawa w Muzeum Współczesnym we Wrocławiu

Kozlowska remained an "unknown" artist for a long time, referring to Makarewicz's words. There were no texts dedicated to her work, no monographs on her

© courtesy of Zbigniew Makarewicz

Barbara Kozlowska was an active co-founder of the Wroclaw avant-garde scene from the early 1960s. Her multimedia works, above all her precursory performances, events, as she sometimes described them, were an extremely original proposal on the map of Polish art, not only in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite this, Kozlowska remained an "unknown" artist for a long time, referring to Makarewicz's words. There were no texts dedicated to her work, no monographs on her.

In the absence of research on Kozlowska's art, her private archive, on which the exhibition at the Contemporary Museum in Wroclaw is based, is all the more valuable. Working on an artist's or artist's archive is always an important stage in learning about her, or his work, but in Barbara Kozlowska's case it is particularly important - not only because it is the main source of research, but also because the structure of this resource reflects well the specifics of her working method and way of thinking. The archive is made up of small notes, manuscripts, typescripts, old invitations to exhibitions, encircled with handwritten, authorial comments, correspondence, shopping lists, which also included suggestions for titles of works, notes on her own health, exhibition projects, plans for Babel Gallery, very numerous autobiograms in various versions.

Wystawa poświęcona Barbarze Kozłowskiej. Muzeum Współczesne we Wrocławiu

The multiple biographies, texts, auto-commentaries, found in the development of works - in view of the silence about her art of researchers - have something poignant in them

© courtesy of Zbigniew Makarewicz

The archive as a whole is also a record of the artist's long-term dialogue with herself. The multiple biographies, texts, self-commentaries, and elaborations of works in it - in view of the silence about her art of researchers - have something poignant in them. One gets the impression that we are dealing with an attempt to overcome the artistic loneliness she undoubtedly experienced, despite living in a relationship with another artist. Kozlowska repeated the fate of many female artists, she was never included in the canon, which she was aware of. However, in her case, this situation can be reversed - with the archive as a source of works, but also, and just as importantly, as a source of narrative.


elabor. ed.

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