Nobuyoshi Araki, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Eva Koťátková<br>FOREIGN BODIES

Con­tem­porary visual cul­ture treats the body as a plastic material that can be formed, shaped, distor­ted and defor­med as needed or desired. The images gathered for our exhibition are a special col­lec­tion of such bodies—mainly female—subjected to various treat­ments. Their medium is the photographic image, par­tially also manipulated. For the most part these are the newest series of works by a trio of artists with well-​established inter­national reputations: Love-​Dream, Love-​Nothing by Nobuyoshi Araki (2018), Beauty Masks by Aneta Grzeszykow­ska (2017), Unlear­ning the Body by Eva Koťátková (2016), as well as a selec­tion from one of Araki’s older series, Cosmosco (1993/1998).

Each of these artists emer­ges from a dif­ferent artistic tradition and dif­feren­tly depicts in their works the cul­tural forms of sub­duing and con­trol­ling the body: under the domination of the male gaze (Araki), the social and educational system (Koťátková), or advan­ced cosmetics prac­tices (Grzeszykow­ska). They are in their way model images, alluding to various types of fan­tasies about the body, both erotic and anatomical, but also various artistic genres: per­for­mance, sur­realism, and avant-​garde. In this evolved process of objec­tification of women’s and children’s bodies, hybrid forms arise, “living col­lages,” the “foreign bodies” from the exhibition title. Nor is the process free of violence.

The cosmetic masks photographed by Grzeszykow­ska, which may be associated with extreme sports gear as well as a criminal dis­guise, effec­tively reshape the artist’s face. The school les­sons in anatomy in Koťátková’s col­lages turn to a far-​gone gym­nastics exer­cise resul­ting in decon­struc­tion of the human figure under­stood as a holistic unity of body and psyche. Araki’s nudes fran­kly address sexual prac­tices groun­ded in domination.

The exhibition is com­posed around the prin­ciple of a crooked mirror. Male fan­tasies are reflec­ted in a critical female gaze, and the paradoxical figure hol­ding together these cul­turally diverse per­spec­tives is a well-​known Polish model, the protagonist of the latest photographs by the Japanese artist.


Aneta Grzeszykowska, Beauty Mask, 2017, pigment ink on cotton paper, gold-plated frame, 43 x 31,5 cm, 60,5 x 49 x 2 cm framed




Eva Koťátková, Unlearning the body, 2016, collage, 29,7 × 21 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Meyer Riegger.




Nobuyoshi Araki, Cosmosco, 1996/1998, gelatin silver print, 40,6 x 30,8 cm (paper 43,1 x 35,4 cm)


2018 exhibitions

Nobuyoshi Araki, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Eva Koťátková