February 28, 2004 - March 27, 2004
Postmasters Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition of Polish artist Katarzyna Kozyra. The show will be on view from February 28 until March 27.
“Non so piu cosa son, cosa faccio..” (I no longer know what I am or what I do) continues Kozyra’s infiltration of social groups and situations where she does not naturally belong.
This multi channel video installation tracks the artist’s apprenticeship and immersion in two seemingly disparate circles: Berlin drag queens scene and the world of opera singing.Taken under the wing of well known drag queen Gloria Viagra, Kozyra learns the intricate rituals and participates in Gloria’s life while simultaneously taking lessons in operatic singing leading to her own performance of an aria from “Marriage of Figaro”. Parallel in their emphasis on extreme artifice, high drama and spectacle the two worlds merge into one, and, with an artist at its center, create a twisted fairy tale study of unreal dreams and desires.
The installation consists of a short, projected movie “trailer” and a labirynth-like installation of nine videos in the second gallery, each presented on a monitor in a separate curtained space. The narrative unfolds with no prescribed order, the viewers can make their own path through the maze and follow the story.
The project has been produced during Kozyra’s ongoing DAAD art residency in Berlin. Like her other recent works, it explores transgendering of her subjects to question who is who in prescribed gender roles and to blur the distinctions of masculinity and femininity. The tile is taken from the first line in the Cherubino’s aria from “Marriage of Figaro” by W.A. Mozart
Katarzyna Kozyra is probably the best known of the younger generation of Polish artists. Kozyra’s notoriety and controversial status in Poland is legendary and her works, never sensational for the sake of publicity, continue to elicit extreme responses and heated public discussions. Through strategies of infiltration and exposure Kozyra’s works consistently confront myths, taboos, and stereotypes as they touch upon larger universal truths about human nature, private behaviors, and conventional standards of beauty. Her video installation “The Men’s Bathhouse” in which she entered the baths in Budapest disguised as a young man was awarded one of the prizes at at the Venice Biennale in 1999. She subsequently represented Poland at the Biennale in Sao Paulo, Brasil in 2002. “Punishment and Crime”, Kozyra’s previous installation at Postmasters in 2002 documented the actions of a group of Polish militants on their regular outings, men for whom the weapons and explosives are a source of deep primal passion. The faces of the participants were camouflaged with female masks and wigs. Outfitting her models with sexual attributes of “the other” began in “Rites of Spring”- a revolutionary stop animation video which premiered at Renaissance Society in Chicago (2001). Kozyra had numerous solo exhibitions of her works in major european museums - Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, Ludwig Museum in Vienna and Reina Sofia in Madrid, among others. This month a large scale survey of her works has opened in Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea in Trento, Italy.