press release

Katarzyna Kozyra (Warsaw, 1963-) is one of the most famous contemporary Polish media artists in the world. In 1999 she represented Poland at the 48th International Venice Biennial.

In Hungary, she became famous by shooting a video in one of Budapest’s spas with the help of a hidden camera. In the pieces entitled Men's Bathhouseand Women's Bathhouse she investigated from a sociological point of view whether the behaviour of men or women is likely to change in an environment free from the other sex.

Katalin Néray, Director of Ludwig Museum -- Museum of Contemporary Art, noticed the work of Katarzyna Kozyra as early as 1997 when, during the Polish cultural festival Polonia Express, the latter presented in the Kunsthalle the artist's Pyramid of Animals which was inspired by the opera The Musicians of Bremen. In 2003, the video project Rite of Spring was displayed in the 'A' wing of Buda Castle, the former location of the museum. In this work, Kozyra substituted old, naked dancers for the young participants moving violently to Stravinsky’s music and Vaslav Nisinski's choreography. In September 2007, a solo exhibition of Katarzyna Kozyra's work is presented in LUMÚ for the second time.

Katarzyna Kozyra's travelling exhibition, In Art Dreams Come True, uses the visual media of theatre, film, and opera, respectively. In this multimedia piece the Polish artist presents extremely different representations of female types, such as the opera diva, the princess of fairy tales, the pop star, or the femme fatale. The artist chooses masters who help her learn, play, and transform into the stereotypical roles.

She met her first master, a transvestite DJ and singer named Gloria Viagra in Berlin. Viagra introduced her to the world and atmosphere of night clubs, taught her about proper make-up, hairdo, behaviour and movement, went shopping with her, and helped her choose clothes.

She met the second master, a music teacher referred to as the Maestro, in Warsaw. From him she learnt the breathing technique and the posture required for opera singing, and the exaggerated, almost forced and unrealistic performing methods of sublime emotions. Kozyra was taking singing lessons for more than a year to develop her abilities to express emotions.

The worlds of the opera singer and the street walker are opposing at first sight, but in both artificial environments femininity is the central theme. What is more, they both present the process of transformation, being disguised, and superficiality. The two worlds seem to melt to create a distorted fairy tale centred on the artist about unrealistic dreams and desires. By questioning prescribed roles associated with the sexes and obscuring the differences between femininity and masculinity, Katarzyna Kozyra investigates the true meaning of gender roles in this project.

The exhibition was displayed previously in Poland (in Warsaw and Wroclaw), in the Czech Republic (Brno), and in Slovakia (Trnava).

The Ludwig Museum in cooperation with the BWA Gallery, Wroclaw, displays about 30 video works of the artist involving several different techniques, i.e. televisions, computers, or projectors, and also exhibits five clothes designed by the artist especially for this project to be worn at the performances.

Curators: Hanna Wróblewska, Róna Kopeczky

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Katarzyna Kozyra
"In Art Dreams Come True"
Kuratoren: Hanna Wroblewska, Rona Kopeczky