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Boys, 2002
The Polish Cultural Institute
is pleased to announce
the first New York solo exhibition of

Katarzyna Kozyra

Saturday, April 27, 2002 - Saturday, June 1, 2002
Tue. through Sat. 11PM - 6PM

Opening: Sat., Apr. 27th, 6PM - 8PM

Postmasters Gallery
459 W. 19th Street (at 10th Avenue), New York, NY Tel: 212.727.3323

Katarzyna Kozyra (b.1963) is one of the most provocative and controversial artists of the younger generation in Poland. Her photo/video installations, integrating elements of painting, theatre, and performance art, investigate the human condition from challenging perspectives, with an emphasis on issues of sexual identity and our deep ambivalence about the body. Kozyra recently participated in the Video Viewpoint Series at the Museum of Modern Art, and is currently representing Poland at the Biennale in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In this her first solo exhibition in New York Kozyra introduces two new video projects that exemplify her recent use of transgendering to undermine conventional stereotypes of masculinity and femininity: Boys and Punishment and Crime (the tentative title of her latest work, created especially for the Postmasters Gallery show). The two video works contrast a playful sexual innocence with a passionate obsession for para-militaristic games. Like gender, play as war and war as play become interchangeable.

Boys consists of three short videos and a series of photographs. The latter show a group of young men, dressed only in thongs disconcertingly suggestive of inverted tulips, striking poses in the historic interiors of the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. Left to their own devices in this "unnaturally natural circumstance", they assume poses remembered from movies and paintings, while a videotaping of the photo sessions reveals how a playful aimlessness evolves into fleeting erotic undercurrents.

Punishment and Crime (the working title), presented on multiple screens and monitors, shows men passionately engaged in war games, but with real bullets - and their faces masked by those of Playboy girls and famous actresses.

There is an article by video/performance critic Michael Rush on Katarzyna Kozyra and her new show in the Sunday April 21 New York Times, Arts & Leisure, Section 2, page 31. Following the opening on April 27 there will be an interview with Kozyra on the ArtKrush website.

Kozyra has been provoking controversy ever since her diploma work, Pyramid of Animals, startled the Polish art world in 1993. Her bold questioning of the canon of woman's body image is exemplified in her jarringly frank photo self-portraits taken during a stay in the hospital, posing as Manet's "Olympia".

Her video installations, including two ruminations on nakedness recorded with hidden cameras, and inescapably reminiscent of Ingres and Rembrandt - Bathhouse (1997) and Men's Bathhouse (1999) - have been shown widely throughout Europe, the latter winning an Honorable Mention when Kozyra represented Poland at the Venice Biennale in 1999.

Kozyra's Rite of Spring is based on the final movement of Stravinsky's 1914 shocker and Nijinsky's equally shocking choreography. For its showing last year at Chicago's renowned Renaissance Society, curator Walter Hamza wrote:

"Of the original ballet's themes... Kozyra has chosen to explore one of its most elemental subtexts, aging and transformation, through a more literal examination of the human form. Kozyra's Rite of Spring features elderly individuals performing Nijinsky's bold choreography in a stop animation sequence. The four and a half minute work is projected over nine screens... arranged to recreate the high drama of the original mystic circle in which the Chosen Victim performed the sacrificial dance. Far from the youthful dancers in the original who relied heavily on make-up to play the role of wizened elders, Kozyra's dancers are the real thing."

"She is, quite possibly, the most loathed and admired artist in Poland. In other words& an artist worth talking about." (The Economist)

For more information, news, and links visit

If you have further questions contact Magdalena Sawon, Director

Postmasters Gallery, (212) 727-3323, or e-mail: or

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