Alina Szapocznikow, Souvenir I, 1971. Polyester resin, glass, wool, and photographs, 29.56 x 27.56 x 13 in.

Alina Szapocznikow

New York

Andrea Rosen Gallery

Alina Szapocznikow was a supreme bricoleuse. She treated the odd assemblage of parts constituting the human body as her scrap box, junk heap, and obsession. During her brief life (1926–73), she used all aspects and conditions of the body as a resource, and she experienced most of them herself. A concentration camp survivor, a mother, a cancer victim, she mined spectacles of fatality and mortality for her subject matter. If this sounds grim, it isn’t—her work deals with abjection and suffering in a fondly ironic way—and even depictions of suffering and grief are witty and mordantly funny. Szapocznikow conceived of the body as a variable semantic assemblage, referring to it as “that complete erogenous zone.” The work blends beauty with nightmare, a strange combination expressed in objects that seem to insist on wholeness and joy even as the body falls apart. Her sculptures are sensual, seductive, and perverse, a vehicle for memory and a celebration of the ephemeral. …see the entire review in the print version of September’s Sculpture magazine.

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