Title: GHETTO XXI
Dimensions: width: 200, height: 100cm, depth: 3cm
Notes: installation (3 objects – handpainted clothes)
Country: Poland

BIOGRAPHY

Born in 1975. A graduate of Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz. She defended her diploma thesis in 2002 in the Multimedia Department and Photography Laboratory at the Visual Education Faculty. A graduate of the L. Schiller National Film, Television & Theatre School in Lodz (PWSFTviT), where she defended her diploma thesis in 2007 in the Creative Photography Laboratory at the Cinematography and Television Production Department. The scope of her activities encompasses installations, video art, photography and sculpture. She combines various media in her works. The major theme of her formally diverse productions is metamorphosis – transformation of one form into another. In her work tackles the problem of loneliness, stigmatization and alienation of a human being – „ misfit”; sense of exclusion and the search for own identity. Izabela also touches the topic of universalism, the collective unconsciousness concept and the ritual nature of art.

Awards and distinctions:
1995 – 2nd place in the National Photography Competition for Art Schools – Young Art, Gdynia, Poland
2002 – nominated to an award for the film Sacrum , 3rd National and 2nd International Independent Film Festival Film of Tomorrow 2002, Warsaw, Poland

Her artwork are part of collection of the Municipal Art Gallery in Lodz, and in private collections in Poland and abroad.

ARTIST STATEMENT

…Lekh would turn the bird over and paint its wings, head, and breast in rainbow hues until it became more dappled and vivid than a bouquet of wildflowers. Then we would go into the thick of the forest….The bird would begin to twitter and attract a flock of the same species which would fly nervously over our heads. Our prisoner, hearing them, strained toward them, warbling more loudly, its little heart, locked in its freshly painted breast, beating violently. When a sufficient number of birds gathered above our heads, Lekh would give me a sign to release the prisoner. It would soar, happy and free, a spot of rainbow against the backdrop of clouds, and then plunge into the waiting brown flock. For an instant the birds were confounded. The painted bird circled from one end of the flock to the other, vainly trying to convince its kin that it was one of them. But, dazzled by its brilliant colors, they flew around it unconvinced. The painted bird would be forced farther and farther away as it zealously tried to enter the ranks of the flock. We saw soon afterwards how one bird after another would peel off in a fierce attack. Shortly the many-hued shape lost its place in the sky and dropped to the ground… When we finally found the painted bird it was usually dead…
Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosiński

The Ghetto of the 21st century installation touches upon the problem of being entangled in otherness which is not resultant from a conscious and deliberate decision. It is just like the otherness of the eponymous Painted Bird from a novel by Jerzy Kosiński which will inevitably be pecked to death by other birds of he same species because it differs from them. The artwork is a reflection upon the human nature in the context of modern civilisation. Has mankind having experienced the Holocaust drawn conclusions from this lesson of history and repudiated atavisms and prejudice? Can the people plucking up their courage to come out of the closet and embark on a journey to freedom expect any support from the society or are they doomed to ostracism?

The iconic rainbow colors (chosen by the LGBT community) becomes a stigma. The striped uniform of the concentration camp prisoner turns into a clown’s outfit. Isn’t the fear of otherness nowadays comical and tragic at the same time? Depriving people of the right to equal treatment and to living in accordance with their nature just because they belong to the so called „minority” still constitutes the norm in many countries.

www.izabelamaciejewska.art.pl

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