When: 19 May – 1 October 2017
Exhibition opening: 19 May 2017, 7 pm
A meeting with the artist: 19 May 2017, 5 pm (Cinema Centrum)
Curator: Mateusz Kozieradzki
Coordination: Renata Sargalska
Exhibition producer: Wojciech Ruminski
Natalia Lach-Lachowicz – Natalia LL – is one of the most important Polish artists of the second half of the twentieth century. The exhibition Sum ergo sum presented in the Centre of Contemporary Art ‘Znaki Czasu’ in Toruń is retrospective in character as it attempts to capture and summarise the oeuvre of the artist in its entirety – from her earliest works created in the 1960s to the most recent ones from the year 2016. This exhibition will be the most comprehensive presentation of her work in her entire artistic career. In addition to the works which have already become part of the canon of Polish modern art, such as Consumer Art or Post-Consumer Art, we shall see some of the less commonly known works by the artist. The fact that the exhibition will be held in Toruń is of symbolic value: it was here that the artist won her first prize in the countrywide Festival of Students’ Photography in 1962, right at the beginning of her career. The prizewinning work entitled Egzystencje I will be presented at the exhibition, 55 years after the festival, next to the photograph from CoCA’s collection showing the young artist at the prizewinners’ exhibition with the said work in the background.
The exhibition avoids following the chronological order and focuses instead on emphasising the multitude of ideas which have marked the milestones, as it were, in the artist’s career. By focusing on the themes and individual elements of Natalia LL’s interests, the viewer can analyse the evolution of artistic attitudes and numerous links between the subsequent stages. The relations between them form a coherent narrative, a story about the creative work of the artist whose life has been always concentrated on art. The Latin title of the exhibition, Sum ergo sum (I am, therefore I am), refers directly to the presence of the artist both in the world of art as well as in the world around us; it serves as an impulse towards contemplating our presence and existence.
Several ephemeral works have been reconstructed for the sake of this exhibition, such as the installations prepared in the past for individual exhibitions, dismantled after the presentation on account of being difficult to store. The reconstruction has been possible owing to the numerous photographic records held in the artist’s collection and the archival material kept in various art museums in Poland. Among the reconstructed works is the pyramid in which Natalia LL exhibited her works in the 1970s, presented together with a film showcasing some of her accomplishments from that time. The exhibition includes also some thoroughly renovated works such as The Soul of a Tree: a series of artworks comprising a large format photograph, six paintings (paint and sawdust on linen canvas) and ten drawings (sawdust on handmade paper). The exhibition also includes a selection of texts by Natalia LL outlining the conceptual base of her artistic work.
Natalia LL (Natalia Lach-Lachowicz), born 18 April 1937 in Żywiec. In 1957–1963 she studied at the State High School of Art in Wrocław (currently the Academy of Fine Arts) under the supervision of Professor S. Dawowski. Her means of artistic expression include painting, photography, drawing, performance and video. In 1970, together with Andrzej Lachowicz and Zbigniew Dłubak, she founded the PERMAFO Gallery. In 1975 she became involved in the international movement of feminist art, taking part in numerous conferences and exhibitions. In 1997 she stayed in New York owing to a scholarship from the Kosciuszko Foundation. In 1978–1981 she presided over the International Drawing Triennial in Wrocław during its first two editions. At the fourth and the sixth edition of the Triennial, she served as the deputy head of the jury. She received scholarships from the Verein Kulturkontakte in Vienna in 1991 and from PRO-HELVETIA in Switzerland in 1994. Since 2004 she has held a senior professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań.