Sunday, July 22, 2012

Intense Proximity

The Palais de Tokyo is hosting a compelling exhibition that combines art from several decades with ethnographic materials that deal with the body, most typically, as it is perceived by others.  Field notes by Claude Levi-Strauss and African masks photographed by Walker Evans intermingle with paintings by Chris Ofili and video work by Adrian Piper.

Of special note is the representation of artists from Poland, spanning four decades.  Videos from Teresa Tyszkiewicz and doctored photographs by Ewa Partum are on view, as is a crowd pleasing video by Aneta Grzeszykowska, which depicts the artist undressed and dismembered, as her various body parts explore each other and try to reconnect.  The opening delivers a powerful blow as the still-intact artist lights a fuse that connects to a bomb in her mouth.  Like the other Polish artists on display, this work is strongly feminist in orientation, but also works as a piece of neo-surrealism, and evokes the cinematic experiments of Georges Méliès (see his Un Homme de Têtes below).  The Palais show reminds us that Poland has long been and continues to be a major center for art.


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