press release

Ewa Juszkiewicz. The Grass divides as with a Comb

June 18 — July 31, 2020

Ewa JuszkiewiczThe Grass divides as with a CombJune 18 — July 31, 2020The Grass divides as with a Comb at Almine Rech London is Ewa Juszkiewicz's firstexhibition at the gallery.

Through the deconstruction of traditional, historical portraits, Juszkiewicz enters intodiscussion with the visual conventions that they represent, and undermines their constant,indisputable character. The artist confronts the schematic representation of women in arthistory. She critically refers to the position and role of women in society and culture in thepast, and to their insufficient presence in the official version of history.

As is well known, in previous centuries the absence of women was prevalent in many areas.Denying the role of women in the artistic landscape meant diminishing their existence bydepriving them of the status of full artists and citizens, like Emily Dickinson, who had topublish her writing anonymously in 1850. The title of the exhibition is taken from one ofher poems.

Juszkiewicz's portraits recall paintings by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, AdélaïdeLabille-Guiard, Joseph Van Lerius, and Joseph Wright, sending us into a world that is bothclassical and surrealist. By covering female faces and displaying their transfiguration,Juszkiewicz revitalizes Art History through a unique language. In her paintings, the sitter’sposes are familiar, but the intention is radically new. As the artist says:

“My gestures are the tools to break a cliché and overturn a well-known order. I replace whatis classical and connected with the canon into what comes from nature andsenses. Paradoxically, by covering these portraits I want to uncover individuality, character,emotions. I want to bring out the vitality.”

Like the surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse, Juszkiewicz creates hybridcharacters and experiments with the form of the female figure. The faces are replaced by abouquet of flowers, a textile arrangement, or an extravagant headdress. The details, curves,and draped fabrics are formed as if a sculpture, bringing out ambiguous emotions andbalancing on the border of what is human and inhuman. It is a radical and contemporaryact, that accomplishes a kind of symbolic demolition of the canon that this genre represents.-

Milena Oldfield