Natalia Lach-Lachowicz – Natalia LL – is one of the most important Polish artists of the second half of the twentieth century. The exhibition Sum ergo sum is retrospective in character as it attempts to capture and summarise the oeuvre of the artist in its entirety: from her earliest works created in the 1960s to the most recent ones from the year 2016. It was first presented in the Centre of Contemporary Art CSW ‘Znaki Czasu’ in Toruń in 2017. This is the most comprehensive presentation of the artist’s works in her entire career. In addition to the works which have already become part of the canon of Polish modern art, such as Consumer Art or Post-Consumer Art, the exhibition also includes some of the less commonly known works, in particular those which were previously presented only once and as a result, despite their importance for Natalia LL’s artistic output, have become nearly forgotten.
The exhibition avoids following the chronological order and focuses instead on emphasising the multitude of ideas which have marked the milestones, as it were, in the artist’s career. By focusing on the themes and individual elements of Natalia LL’s interests, the viewer can analyse the evolution of artistic attitudes and the numerous links between its subsequent stages. The relations between them form a coherent narrative, a story about the creative work of the artist, whose life has always been concentrated on art. The Latin title of the exhibition, Sum ergo sum (I am, therefore I am), refers directly to the presence of the artist both in the world of art and in the world around us; it serves as an impulse towards contemplating our presence and existence.
Several ephemeral works have been reconstructed for this exhibition, such as the installations prepared in the past for individual exhibitions, dismantled after the presentation on account of being difficult to store. The reconstruction has been possible owing to the numerous photographic records held in the artist’s collection and the relevant archival material kept in various art museums in Poland. Among the reconstructed works is Intimate Sphere or Panic Space, both of which are examples of fine-art photography in a broader sense. The exhibition also includes a selection of films documenting the artistic work of Natalia LL.
Natalia LL (Natalia Lach-Lachowicz), born 18 April 1937 in Żywiec. In 1957–1963 she studied at the State High School of Art in Wrocław (currently the Academy of Fine Arts) under the supervision of Professor S. Dawowski. Her means of artistic expression include painting, photography, drawing, performance and video. In 1970, together with Andrzej Lachowicz and Zbigniew Dłubak, she founded the PERMAFO Gallery. In 1975 she became involved in the international movement of feminist art, taking part in numerous conferences and exhibitions. In 1997 she stayed in New York owing to a scholarship from the Kosciuszko Foundation. In 1978–1981 she presided over the International Drawing Triennial in Wrocław during its first two editions. At the fourth and the sixth edition of the Triennial, she served as the deputy head of the jury. She received scholarships from the Verein Kulturkontakte in Vienna in 1991 and from PRO-HELVETIA in Switzerland in 1994. Since 2004 she has held a senior professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań.
Organizer: Toruń’s (Poland) Centre of Contemporary Art CSW “Znaki Czasu”.
Co-organizer in Lithuania: Gallery “Meno parkas”.
Curator of the exhibition: Mateusz Kozieradzki. Co-ordination: Renata Sargalska.
Exhibition is open till 22 April, National M.K. Čiurlionis museum of art M. Žilinskas art gallery (Nepriklausomybės sq. 12, Kaunas, Lithuania)
Photography: Gallery Meno parkas