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Alina Szapocznikow (1926 - 1973)
Ventre-coussin (Belly cushion)Request Viewing
Polyester resin, polyurethane foam
30 x 31 x 16 cm (11 ³/₄ x 12 ¹/₄ x 6 ¹/₄ inches)
Executed in 1968
Studio of the Artist, Paris
Alina Eshkol (Helman), Israel, cousin of the artist, acquired directly from the above in the 1970s
Private collection Israel, thence by descent
This work is registered in the archives of the Galerie Loevenbruck.
This piece is from leading contemporary artist Szapoczikow’s series ‘Bellies’, which included plaster casts of bodies, her own included. As a Holocaust survivor, her work often explored trauma and its relationship to the human form, with her art typically reconsidering figurative representation. Known for her profound and emotionally fuelled use of the medium, Szapocznikow has become a renowned Polish female sculptor and recognised as one of the best in the world. Her works have been exhibited in the MoMA, New York; Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield; and numerous private and public collections, including major institutions in Poland.
This orginal artwork by Alina Szapocznikow is available for immediate purchase.
Alina Szapocznikow was a Polish sculptor born to a Jewish family in 1926. As a teenager, she was imprisoned for over 10 months in concentration camps working as a nurse, during the Holocaust. After the war, she moved to Prague and then to Paris, where she studied at the École des Beaux Arts. Her life in Paris was important in her artistic development, where she discovered works by Jean Arp and Alberto Giacometti and began working in a classical figurative style. In 1951, Szapocznikow moved back to Poland and expanded her practice whilst recovering from tuberculosis, and she returned to Paris in the 1960s.
Alina Szapocznikow was influenced by Surrealism, Nouveau Realism and Pop Art and she radically re-conceptualized sculpture introducing new materials and subjects. In 1962, Szapocznikow began to cast her own body in plaster. The fragility of the body and sexualisation of certain parts, were often transformed into everyday objects known as ‘Awkward Objects’. She wrote, ‘Despite everything, I persist in trying to fix in resin the traces of our body: I am convinced that of all the manifestations of the ephemeral, the human body is the most vulnerable, the only source of all joy, all suffering, and all truth.’
Szapocznikow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1969 and prematurely died in 1973 at the age of 47.
In the last decade, Alina Szapocznikow has become a very important Polish female sculptrice. Her works have been rediscovered and exhibited in the MoMA, New York; Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield; and numerous private and public collections, including major institutions in Poland.