Change. Mein Problem ist das Problem der Frau
Ewa Partum (*1945, Poland, Germany) was one of the pioneers of conceptual art in Poland and an important influence on the development of feminist performance art from the beginning. Ac- cording to her motto “an act of thought is an act of art,” her public actions and works on paper focus on the power of signs, the materialisation and the realignment of language, representation and mental images. Partum has been living and working in Berlin since 1983.
Due to her unique position in the Polish neo-avant-garde dominated by men, Ewa Partum turned her attention to her female subjectivity in the 1970s and often appeared nude in front of her audience, taking a radical stance as a performer. In the performance Change. Mein Problem ist das Problem der Frau (Change. My Problem is the Problem of a Woman), she lay naked on a pedestal. While one half of her body was ‘aged’ by make-up artists, she spoke about the reproduction of images of women in society. Text passages on feminism in art by VALIE EXPORT (see EXP 1–2) and Lucy Lippard could also be heard from an audio tape. After two hours, the make-up artists were finished and Partum declared herself an artwork. According to Angelika Stepken, this divided female body image represents the location of artificial self-identification questioning traditional beauty ideals while also touching on the taboo of the ageing female body.
Courtesy Ewa Partum