curator: Przemek Sowiński
Przemek Sowiński "Despite its apparently attractive appeal, Maryna Sakowska's exhibition is not a pleasant story at all. In its visual play with the recipient, the artist keeps mixing different motifs, balancing between the issues of female subjugation and a collective, deviant urge to watch. Medieval swords and daggers placed by the artist on ironing boards form a stack of weaponry after a victorious or losing battle. A composition is thus formed, where the boundaries of rigid and explicit distribution of roles are blurred. The end of the old world is only apparent, though. Relieved from their primary, utilitarian function, the swords leave scars that can hardly heal. A well-known, saber-wielding protagonist of adventure books would never kill his opponent. Instead, he would cut their clothes and underwear open, baring them of their status and exposing their ordinary, faint, often grotesque body. The innocent motifs of lips painted on shredded fabrics and old tablecloths, which are so characteristic to the artist, carry a deeper thought than their attractively served form. Each cut unveils the truth, but this truth is not about the physicality of our bodies with their little faults. What we see is its formalized image, one that's been forced into a predefined role we were assigned at birth by our culture.
In Maryna Sakowska's works, the sword symbolically visualizes a piercing, deep-rooted, phallocentric outlook which is clearly manifested in the work based on a cat tree. This piece was directly inspired by the story of Amanda Todd, the victim of sexual assault and cyberbullying, whose death became the object of disgusting memes. In this voyeuristic realization, the artist incorporated motifs drawn from princess fairy tales and brutally mixed them with Hentai and upskirting, forcing us to become observers standing in a position of privilege, where the field of view is narrowed to certain bits and isolated body fragments. Trapped inside, the girl cannot be seen in whole. As if she was deprived of her self, forced to build her subjectivity by breaking with the male, fetishizing gaze and expectations of her image. In this sense, Maryna Sakowska's exhibition is a reflection of the clichés and models of femininity that contemporary civilization has served us. In this framework, a woman or a female person cannot exist as a self-contained being."
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