These works form a warts-and-all self-portrait of the artist, and indicate a desire to take control of her own image.
In Grzeszykowska’s projects, she deconstructs her image in a variety of ways. For Selfie, a combination of sculpture and photography, she employs substitutes made out of animal skin.
The artist created models of parts of her body from pig skin, then took photos of them against colourful backgrounds. The works resemble horror-movie props – although inanimate, they appear to be alive. In the above photograph, the ‘face’ is deformed, eyeless and swathed in plastic, yet its artificiality does not impair the emotional impact of the work.
Grzeszykowska’s stylisations are a macabre game. The artist tends to the animal parts used to create this work as she would to a human body: by applying makeup to pre-arranged skin fragments, she is literally ‘fixing her face’. Her treatments performed on parts of a cadaver lead one to conclude that self-reinvention is a relentless battle with bodily mortality.
In the Videofan programme, the artist said:
We ourselves are creations undergoing constant transformations. Every time we develop, we leave our previous identity behind, and the moment we refuse to leave it behind is the moment of death.
Grzeszykowska decided not to put the actual sculptures on show at the exhibition, only photographs depicting them, or, in the context of identity building – their images. In so doing, she limited the options for experiencing them to just one of the senses – vision.
Originally written in Polish, translated by AG, edited by MB, Dec 2018
This text is part of the project Metaphors of Independence: Poland In 100 Photos.
To coincide with the centenary of Poland regaining its independence, we have created a selection of photographs that allow us to understand both yesterday and today. A hundred photographs but so much more. Find out more.