Emotional tensions and guilty subtexts that lie behind the acts of gift giving are a starting point for Małgorzata Markiewicz’s investigations of the power struggles in relationships. The red neon sign, Can I Make You Feel Bad? in the shape of a necklace, lends the exhibition its title.
Markiewicz’s work addresses themes such as the uncanny, gendered spaces and roles, manifestations of desire, threat and power in domestic scenarios. For her first solo exhibition at l’étrangère the artist brings together neon, metal and ceramic, photographs, crocheted sculptures and found objects.
Metal cobwebs stretched across the windows indicate a prison-like environment where the underlying power tensions in relationships become oppressive and destructive. Markiewicz appropriated the erratic patterning that spiders created when administered with toxic solutions during a scientific experiment. Whilst the spider’s process of weaving is paralleled in the act of ‘homemaking’ and creating a support structure, the accelerated irregularity caused by this intoxication intimates what happens when home comforts and relationships turn toxic.
A series of photographs of the artist dressed in a sexy pinafore, performing various household duties, underpins the problematics of traditional gender roles and associated tensions.
Found gloves that Markiewicz bunched and stitched together into soft sculptural forms and placed, precariously, on a series of twisted stands become simulators of human contact and coupling, touch and desire. This gesture is repeated in a soft neon replicating a drawing of two hands clasped together standing as a beacon of hope within the chaos of destructive power struggles.
About the Artist
Traditional ‘feminine’ craft techniques of sewing, crocheting, embroidery, used and found clothing, yarn, wool, and fabric have been Małgorzata Markiewicz’s main media. She has recently experimented in ceramics, neon signs and metal sculptures. The role and identity of women in social and domestic environments, gender roles and associated conflicts, the significance of home and power struggles in domestic settings are the predominant motifs that Markiewicz addresses through her art.
Born in 1979, Małgorzata Markiewicz lives and works in Kraków, Poland. She is a graduate of the sculpture department of the Fine Arts Academy in Kraków. She has recently been awarded a PhD there investigating the ideas of home and gender roles within the domestic environment as her thesis.
In 2004 and 2011 Markiewicz has been a receipient of scholarships of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and was awarded a number of prestigious residencies including 2015 London Summer Intensive UCL & Camden Arts Centre, 2014 CRIR, Residency at Christiania, Copenhagen, 2013 Botkyrka Konsthall Residency, Fitja, Stockholm, 2011 Residency SPACE Cleveland Ohio, USA, 2006 Residency HIAP, Cable Factory, Helsinki.
Selected group exhibitions include: Boutique Art Couture, Gislaveds Konsthall, Sweden (2015), Wilno in Gdańsk, Alternativa-Vernacularity, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdańsk, Poland (2015) Gender in Art, MOCAK, Kraków, Poland (2015), Night Activities, BWA Katowice, Poland (2014), Who Makes Europe?, Matadero, Madrid, Spain (2013), Fanaberie, Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków, Poland (2013), Hotel de Immigrantes, Cosmopolitan Stranger, Hasselt Belgium, (2012), Gifts Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art, Wrocław, Poland (2011), Two Sides, SWAN Day Berlin, Germany (2011), Better Tomorrow, Berlin, Germany (2011) Studio Stefania Miscetti, Rome, Italy (2011), Till the Heaven Stops the Rain ,San Casciano, Italy, (2010), Coexistence, Tembi Gallery, Yogyakarta, Indonesia,(2010) Rococo, KUB Gallery, Lipsk, Germany,(2010), Tribute to Men Artists by Women Artists, Łaźnia, Gdańsk, Poland (2010), New Territories, Lisbon, Portugal,(2009) Neighbours, Blekinge Museum, Karlskona, Sweden,(2008), Rauma Biennale, Rauma, Finland, (2008) Red Eyes Effect Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland (2008),Heritage Art Centre Castle Poznań,Poland (2008), Excentric Paths, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, (2007), Antifestival, Kopio, Finland, (2006),Old Cities, New Art, Quebec, Canada,(2005) Breathe, action in public space, part of Womens’ Day Project, Kraków, Poland (2004)
Amongst Solo exhibitions were:
House, Home, Domesticity, Botkyrka, Konsthall, Tumba, Sweden, (2013), Vanishing Points, Piekary Gallery, Poznań, Poland (2012),Wearable Nations, The Factory of Art and Design, Copenhagen, Denmark, (2011), EU Textiles, MOCAK, Kraków, Poland (2011), ESC Emergency Exits, BWA Bielsko-Biała, Poland (2010) A Secret Beauty of.. , BWA Tarnów, Poland (2009), Transformations, Bunkier Art Gallery, Kraków, Poland (2007), Cob Web, Potocka Gallery Kraków, Poland (2003).
Markiewicz’ works are in numerous private collections and in a number of Muzeum collections including:
Berardo Muzeum Lizbona, Portugal
MOCAK, Kraków, Poland
Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków, Poland
Galeria Arsenal, Białystok, Poland
BWA, Bielsko Biała, Poland