The previously unpublished collection serves as a remarkable and unprecedented window into the artist's personal thoughts and emotions, illustrated with photos from Szapocznikow's personal archive
As Jakubowska writes in her foreword, the collection is a record of love, which later turned to friendship after their divorce in 1958, yet it is also a look into how the career and work of Alina Szapocznikow evolved over this period. These are intimate writings, yet also full of insights into the social, political and artistic climate surrounding Polish artists and home and across Europe, particularly with regard to Polish intellectual circles with a leftist lean who lived across Poland and France.
The English edition collection of letters was published in the autumn of 2012 by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw under the title Lovely, Human, True, Heartfelt: The Letters of Alina Szapocznikow and Ryszard Stanisławski, 1948–1971 (Polish title: Kroją mi się piękne sprawy). Edited by Agata Jakubowska and Katarzyna Szotkowska-Beylin, with translation by Jennifer Croft, the collection spans 20 years of letters, starting in Paris in 1948, where Alina Szapocznikow arrived to continue her art studies in the aftermath of World War II. There she met Ryszard Stanisławski, a student of the Warsaw Polytechnic, who had surreptitiously made it to France. Inspired by his future wife to study art history, he begins an illustrious career as an art critic, later named the director of the Museum of Art in Łódź, where he remained at his post for many years. The first of some 140 letters come within days of their first meeting, the last within two years of her passing in 1973.
Life is short, is lovely, as long as it can be sincere, true, and strong, not sugary sentimental. Flowers are a miracle of nature and a joy to humanity. Although of course everything is a miracle of nature. The strongest word in your letter is “damned.” It was only then that I really felt how damned much you love me, and you don’t have to be sorry for that.
- excerpt from one of Szapocznikow's letters from the collection
The publication comes at a time of increased interest in Szapocznikow, with the MoMA in New York hosting the Sculpture Undone exhibition, originally shown at the WIELS centre in Brussels in 2011. See more on the book atwww.artmuseum.pl and amazon.com
Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart
Source: Publisher's info