Author of short films, photographer, draughtsman, performance artist, painter. Well known for her pin-paintings, she created space objects and sculptures. Born on the 28th of December 1953 in Ciechanów, died on 22th January 2020.
Author of short films, photographer, draughtsman, performance artist, painter.
Tyszkiewicz's works explored feminine sexuality. Her personal style involved images full of motion and metaphors, with the artist’s body often appearing in the nude. The artist explained:
My body is a medium, a source and a creation of a problem. It is indispensable. It’s a base, a ‘home’, which shelters my personality. It plays the part of a ‘link’ between reality and imagination. In my movies I can’t really find any other tool than my physical self, because I always want to outline the idea with myself.
Her initial contact with the art world was through modeling for her husband Zdzisław Sosnowski's art projects. In 1978 she took up her own creative work and together with Sosnowski released the first movies: Goalkeeper – 1975/77; Permanent Position – 1978/79; Other Side – 1979/90. The films mirrored the changes occurring in Polish art in the end of the seventies when artists were looking for highly emotional and subjective means of expression. She called her movies “images of the imagination in motion”. Art critic Szymon Bojko wrote:
Tyszkiewicz’s films penetrate the areas of subjective experiences and impressions, they stimulate the imagination and try to escape from intellectual domination. They are created in a reality, which reveals itself in sensory perception, in a micro-environment experienced in a specific way – through fragments, scraps, details and unrecognizable fractions. They present their irrational existences and meanings, causing a whole chain of reactions, but they have neither a beginning nor an end.
In one of her earlier works, Permanent Position, Tyszkiewicz and Sosnowski tried to analyse the internal psychological processes occurring in the relation between man and woman by building visual equivalents of their interaction. The work is filled with sexual emotions emphasised by the use of props, such as a small fur or cigar, and visualises the subtle tensions created from their interaction.
In the movie Grain Tyszkiewicz juxtaposed her naked body in a pool of grain with various objects, materials and mechanisms thus reducing herself to a 'fragment of animated matter'. The organic nature of her body was contrasted with the cultural, represented by the figure of her father in the background and even her varnished nails.
In 1982, the artist left for Paris, where she began working with pins, she explained:
In France I began to develop an idea, which I brought with me from Poland. I wanted to compose paintings from pins. They simply haunted me. This poor object became magical to me. The prick, the resistance and the urge to overcome it. Pins provoke me, they induce new propositions. They are gentle upon taming, but in the course of my work I’m scared because they are dangerous, aggressive. They might symbolise the struggle to overcome obstacles
Working with pins involved sticking up to thirty thousand pins into various surfaces. The pins played a symbolic role and simultaneously in the hands of the artist pins were a means of putting chaos in order. "The process is an experience. It’s an action. (…) During work I feel like a point, like a prick of my pin", she said. Pins functioned in Tyszkiewicz’s paintings in various ways. They might be stuck into a canvas, or conjoined with acryl or oil paint, soldered onto metal sheets. The struggle with the materials was a kind of a psychological or metaphysical fight. Writer Barbara Askanas wrote about Tyszkiewicz’s work:
The kingdom of Eros is the area of this non-antagonistic fight, which has its biological source in the sexual and self-preservation instincts. That is where the author leads us to, placing in her works fingerposts in the shapes of bulging phallic and vaginal forms. Their presence enables us to understand other artistic elements, such as pins in paintings or seeds in films, as symbols of vital human energy.
In her paintings Tyszkiewicz used colour rather frugally. She prefered to work with black, white, red and blue. The elaborate structures of the artist's arrangements were rhythmical. In the painting Straight Pin the waving pins resembled the current of a rapid river. Tyszkiewicz had a numer of exhibtions with pins featuring in the spotlight. At them the artist showed large, monochromatic paintings, densely covered with pins as well as assemblage canvases, in which apart from pins other elements such as little, green miniatures of soldiers appeared. Her showings would also feature photographs showing her face in different masks or in the proximity of pins (for instance the artist’s face covered by a piece of meat with pins stuck into it).
Tyszkiewicz’s later work relied on solids and space compositions with raw wood and blocks constituting her basic sculpting material. She made totemic objects by carving the wood with a chisel and a saw. The sculptures were long, misshapen and were covered with various incisions. Resembling clubs, they emanated a barbaric purpose. These items were consciously chosen by Tyszkiewicz because of their phallic symbolism.
Her works can be found in many private and public collections, in the Fonds National d’Art Contemporian in Paris, in the Musée Ville de Paris and in the Fondation Camille in Paris. She studied at the Faculty of Mechanics and Technology at the Warsaw University of Technology. Since 1982, she lived and worked in Paris.
Films on 16 mm film:
1978/79 - Permanent Position
1980 - Other Side
1980 - Seed
1981 - Breath
1981 - Image and Games
1981 - Stage
1994 - Epingle
2008 - Now, Artists of the Photo-Medium-Art Gallery, Powerhouse Mazovian Centre for Contemporary Art, Radom
2006 - 1,2,3...avant-garde, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
2005 - Teresa Tyszkiewicz. Faces", Showing Critics’ Gallery, Warsaw
2004 - Films of Polish Women Artists in the 1970s and 1980s, a screening accompanying the exhibition Architecture of Gender: Contemporary Woman's Art in Poland, Sculpture Center, New York
2004 - From the Archive of Polish Experimental Films, Bath Art Centre, Gdańsk
2004 - Films of Polish Women Artists in the 1970s and 1980s, Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium, London
2004 - Epingle, Kiron Galerie, Paris
2001 - Espace des Beaux-Arts, Athens (Award of the Jury of the Exposition Fondation Camille)
1998 - Pins, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
1994 - Ars Erotica, National Museum, Warsaw
1991 - We Are, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
1989 - Galerie W. Dunikowski, Cologne, Germany
1988 - Comparaison, Grand Palais, Paris
1986 - Aspects de la jeune peinture abstraite, Paris
1985 - Galerie Lara Vincy, Paris
1983 - Grands et jeunes d'aujourd'hui, Grand Palais, Paris
1983 - Présences Polonaises (film), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1983 - Festival International d'Art Performance, Lyon, France
1982 - Festival de Cinéma et Vidéo, Paris
1982 - XII Biennale de Paris (Section Cinema Experimental)
1982 - Galeria Diferença, Lisbon
1981 - Festival International du Jeune Cinéma, Hyères, France
1981 - Studio Gallery, Warsaw
1980 - Movies Screening, Critics’ Gallery, Warsaw
1980 - Works and Words, De Appel Gallery, Amsterdam
1979 - Permanent Position, BWA Kalisz
1979 - Comparisons, BWA Sopot
1979 - Extreme Art, BWA Poznań
Author: Ewa Gorządek, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, December 2007; updated: November 2009