The lecture, accompanying the exhibition Flesh by Marte Gunnufsen and the series of drawings (W)ho’re Whore? featured in the show, will be based around the history of iconoclasm – in this case, the destruction of the works of art depicting male sexual organs.
Daniele de Volterra or “The Breeches Maker” (Il Braghettone) from the Sistine Chapel, penises chopped off ancient sculptures or the Secret Cabinet of Naples with artifacts excavated from Pompeii, are just a few examples of taboos in art and social life in the past. In the history of culture, the phallus represents irrational reactions – as Sophocles said, “to have a penis is to be chained to a madman”.
Alongside selected examples from world art, the lecture will cover a number of Polish contemporary art pieces, including the works created by Katarzyna Kozyra, Artur Żmijewski, Zofia Kulik, Zbigniew Libera and Dorota Nieznalska. They will be shown in the context of contemporary socio-political phenomena. The presentation will also refer to many intriguing phenomena in the history of culture.
In effigie was a European custom practiced from the Middle Ages until the Enlightenment. It was described, among others, by Marquis de Sade in his book The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinage. The practice linked the penalty system with art (image). In the absence of the person condemned to death, the death sentence was carried out on the convict’s image. The concept behind the practice was the belief in the (magical? spiritual?) relationship between the visual portrait and the person depicted. In effigie, although absent in contemporary legal codes, has survived until our times. Works of art at various geographical latitudes have been subject to acts of violence, not only due to censorship but, above all, involving physical destruction of the works of culture and art, for ideological, economical or religious reasons. A series of lectures, workshops and exhibitions will present the tragic fate of art pieces from the perspective of various epochs and cultures. The cycle will be summarized with a publication on contemporary iconoclasm.
Curator: Stanisław Ruksza
Stanisław Ruksza – curator, art historian, author, lecturer. Since 2017, the director of TRAFO Centre for Contemporary Art in Szczecin. Between 2008-2017, he was the programme director of the Kronika Center for Contemporary Art in Bytom. He graduated from art history at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Curator of numerous exhibitions in Poland and abroad. Lecturer at the Academy of Art in Szczecin and guest lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. In 2007-2009, he lectured at the Silesian University in Katowice – the Institute of Art in Cieszyn. His theoretical research examines the connections between visual arts and socio-political transformations, the subject of death and borderline experiences in contemporary art. Resident of apexart in New York (2009), Careof DOCVA in Milano (2013, 2015), Cite Internationale des Arts Paris (2017). In 2014, he was awarded the title of the Curator of the Year in Poland by Polish art magazine Obieg. He was shortlisted for the prize “Guarantees of Culture 2015″, awarded by TVP Kultura, in the category of “visual arts”.