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Ewa Partum: "Selbstidentifikation" (1980). image copyright Ewa Partum, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Ewa Partum (Poland, Germany *1945)

Ewa Partum is a forerunner of conceptual art in Poland and has been an important figure for the development of feminist performance art from very early on. With “an act of thought is an act of art” as her motto, her public actions and paper art deal with the power of signs and the materialization and reorganization of language, representation and mental pictures. Ewa Partum moved to Berlin in 1983, where she lives and works today.

In "Aktive Poesie" (1971) she asks people in Warsaw’s pedestrian area to create new a meaning and context for the alphabetical letters from one page of James Joyce’s book “Ulysses”. By regarding her body as neither a part of nature nor as a sexual object but as a work of art, she adds a new dimension to her exploration of art’s semantic function. She challenges the traditional attributes and codes for the female body in our cultural systems of language and images.

This is also the case in"Anwesenheit / Abwesenheit" (1965), the first documented public action in Poland. In this performance, she takes up the theme of how the female body exists already as a pre-structured projection before its depiction.

In her exhibition"Selbstidentifikation" (1980) in the Mała Gallery in Warsaw, which consists of performances, photo collages and film projections, she protests against the standardized role of women in socialist society by posing naked as a provocation, declaring her intention to continue intervening with her naked body until women have created an art of their own.

"Tautological Cinema" is a cycle of short films exploring linguistic and cinematic structures.

In "Drawing of TV", Ewa Partum attempts to trace a TV show on a television screen using a felt pen.

For her performance "Change", Ewa Partum asked a make-up artist to change half of her body into an older alter ego and afterwards declared her body to be a work of art.

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Ewa Partum: "Change" (1973).image copyright Ewa Partum, VG Bild-Kunst


In the Exhibition:

"Anwesenheit / Abwesenheit", Sopot 1965, Installation
"Aktive Poesie", 1971
"Poem by Ewa", 1971
"Selbstidentifikation, Aktion vor Standesamt, Warschau", 1980
"Selbstidentifikation", 1980. 3 of 11 photo collages

In the Video Archive:

"Aktive Poesie ", 1971-73, 5:45min
"Tautological Cinema", 1973-74, 4:12min
"Drawing of TV", 1976, 5:53min
"Change. Mein Problem ist das Problem der Frau", 1979, 7:00min


Galerie Vostell, Berlin