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To Exalt the Ephemeral: Alina Szapocznikow, 1962 – 1972 at Hauser & Wirth

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Time 10:00
Date 07/02/20
Price Free

In a brief but explosively inventive career, Alina Szapocznikow radically re-conceptualised sculpture as a vehicle for exploring, liberating and declaring bodily experience.

Friday 07 February - Saturday 02 May, 10:00 - 18:00.

This is Hauser & Wirths first solo exhibition devoted to Alina Szapocznikow since undertaking representation of the artist’s estate in May 2018. The visceral, playful, and uncanny aspects of the human bodily experience lay at the center of Szapocznikow’s oeuvre.

‘To Exalt the Ephemeral: Alina Szapocznikow, 1962 – 1972,’ reveals the full expressive potential of this pioneering Polish artist’s work through the material innovations she made during the last decade of her life and is the first solo presentation of Szapocznikow’s work in the UK since her acclaimed exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield in 2017.

Born in Poland to a Jewish family in 1926, Szapocznikow survived the horrors of concentration camps as a teenager. In the post-war years, moving from Prague to Paris, she ultimately abandoned the Socialist Realism endorsed by the Polish government, as well as the prevailing winds of modernist abstraction, to embrace Surrealist tendencies and the Pop-influenced New Realism of the Paris avant-garde, championed by Pierre Restany. Working furiously as she cycled through phases of artistic growth, Szapocznikow engaged themes related to the body with full intensity. In the last decade of her life, her experimentation with new materials acquired particular focus and force, yielding works that dramatically challenged the traditional language of sculpture and presaged approaches central to art today. Her work and life were cut short in 1973 when, at the age of 46, she succumbed to cancer.