Together with Natalia LL and Ewa Partum, Teresa Murak (*1949, Poland) was one of the leading performance and body artists in Poland in the 1970s. At the beginning of the 1970s, Teresa Murak discovered the natural material that was to become central to her artistic practice: plant seeds. After martial law was declared in Poland in the 1980s, she was forced to take her activities to the artistic underground. During this time Murak turned from seed actions and began working with dirt and mud as a means of expression in her art.
In 1975, Teresa Murak created a work that was to become her artistic signature: Lady’s Smock, a dress made out of fast growing cress seeds. In this performance, Murak’s nude body is both subject and an art material interacting with natural elements. In this fusion of earth art and body art, she removed the seeds from their immediate natural environment, giving them an ideal new breeding ground for natural development and growth: her warm body. The intimate contact between the seeds and Murak’s body created a place for vegetation she formally intensified at the end of the 1980s. In this meditative action, she lay in a bathtub filled with water and seeds while the seeds began to sprout.
Performance: 1975, Lublin
Courtesy Teresa Murak & Galeria Labirynt, Lublin