artist / participant
Postmasters Gallery is pleased to announce "summertale"- an exhibition of a new video and a series of photographs by Polish artist Katarzyna Kozyra. The show will open on October 18 and will be on view until November 15, 2008. This will be the artist's third solo exhibition in New York.
"summertale", a 20 minutes long, vibrant video that veers between bucolic bliss and blood splattered grotesque, is a theatrically staged fairy tale fantasy starring Kozyra, Maestro, Gloria Viagra and five female dwarfs. And, like in fairytales, the characters reenact the struggles of good and evil, right and wrong, us and them, innocence and guilt, stopping just short of "happily ever after" resolution. In a guise of old fashioned fable, the morality play of our time unfolds. Kozyra constructs cinematic artifice reminiscent of Federico Fellini and Matthew Barney. Using masquerade as a tool of exposure she confronts myths, taboos, and gender stereotypes as they touch upon larger universal truths about human nature, otherness, private behaviors, and conventional standards of beauty. "summertale" is a final, closing chapter of "In Art Dreams Come True" cycle, an elaborate adventure/experiment-on-self, which tracks Katarzyna Kozyra's multiple transformations.
Began in 2003, "In Art Dreams Come True" consists of a series of performances, quasi-theatrical productions, audience-engaging happenings and films. In the individual works, Kozyra acts as the director, lead character, and as 'raw material' apprentice in the hands of her two master guides who assist her in assuming various roles. Gloria Viagra, the Berlin-based drag queen whom the artist sees as a model of "true femininity" and the voice coach Grzegorz Pitulej, known as Maestro introduce Kozyra into their respective worlds, both saturated with artificiality, convention and posing. These features become central to each of Kozyra's artistic embodiments, which include an opera diva, a drag queen, a cheerleader, Olympia from Offenbach opera, Snow White, Madonna, a castrato, a strip tease artist , and, finally in "summertale", a seemingly innocent girl.
Infiltrating the worlds to which she does not naturally belong has been present in Kozyra's work from the start. She came to international attention with "The Men's Bathhouse" a video installation of her covert intrusion into an all male bathhouse in Budapest for which she received a prize at Venice Biennale in 1999. In 2002 "Punishment and Crime" she befriended and documented the actions of a group of Polish militants on their secret outings, men for whom the weapons and explosives are a source of deep primal passion. Kozyra's work have been widely exhibited around the world including Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Renaissance Society in Chicago, Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Ludwig Museum in Vienna, Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea in Trento, Barbican Art Center in London, and Brooklyn Museum in New York among many others. "In Art Dreams Come True" is presently showing at Aarhus Kunstbyning, Contemporary Art Centre in Aarhus, Denmark.
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