Surrealism and feminism

The blend of surrealism and feminism is a critical response to the non-political surrealist trend in Polish painting supportive of the patriarchal status quo, which bloomed several years ago. It seems that today, this tendency remains the most curious manifestation of feminist art in Poland. Notably, the involved and emancipating women’s art promoted i.a. by Paulina Ołowska and Ewa Juszkiewicz (collective exhibitions: Dirty Water at the State Gallery of Art in Sopot, and Fair Weather at the Galeria Foksal Foundation, with both artists as authors) makes use of traditional media, such as painting.

Artists whose works we show at the exhibition suggest a different comprehension of femininity than the one we have become used to through art history and popular culture. In their pieces, “alluring monstrosity” (Ewa Juszkiewicz, Magdalena Moskwa, Agnieszka Brzeżańska) transpires as an antidote to the pressure modern women are exposed to in terms of remaining attractive and caring for their external image. Artists focus on the present and the re-invented past of art. Surrealist fiction and fantasy serve the purpose of an attempt at rewriting art history, to show its form unfathomable in times when women had been completely subject to masculine gaze and perception. Thus, what we face here is critical reaction to the past of art with its repressive impact on the present. We also see a severance of ties to obsessive struggle for the ideal, to theoretising, and to a holistic and yet system-based perception of phenomena. The viewer’s attention is drawn to peculiar phenomena causing discomfort (e.g. in works by Bianka Rolando).