NATALIA LL is a true icon of Polish political and feminist art. For over forty years, she has been producing highly original works that have included paintings, drawings, photographs, installations, sculptures, performance and video art. She is among Poland's top media artists and one of the world's most important feminist artists. In addition, her penchant for formal experimentation coupled with vast knowledge and deep reflection has prompted her to produce many excellent texts. Natalia LL has participated in dozens of exhibitions and had many solo exhibitions in prestigious venues in Poland and abroad.
Natalia LL (Lach Lachowicz) was born in 1937 in Zywiec. Since 1957 she has been living in Wroclaw, where she studied at the State High School of Fine Arts, 1957-63. In 1970, she co-founded an artistic group and gallery called PERMAFO. In the mid-1970s, the artist joined the international feminist art movement. She soon became one of its most outstanding representatives. She organized the first feminist exhibitions in Poland to use the term "feminist".
Body art, in the artist's opinion the most honest method of artistic expression, has been the leading element of her work (performances made in the 1970s, e.g., the famous Dreaming cycle, and later: Densities, Pyramid) .
Rooted also in conceptual art, Natalia LL's work has often gone beyond all limits or conventions, as well as current trends or fashions. The multiple threads of her work, as well as the use of various media, pose a lot of problems for art critics who find it difficult to position the artist within the context of contemporary Polish art.
Photography, originally regarded by Natalia LL as an antidote to the powerlessness of painting, has always played an important role in her work. In fact, in her first famous work, the cycle Consumer Art, as well as in many others dating from the 70s and 80s, she employed photography. Later she made enormous paintings, deformed self-portraits on light-sensitive cloth (Mystical and Metaphysical Portraits, 1987 cycle) that combined the essence of photography with that of painting. Aside from Zbigniew Dlubak, Natalia LL may well be the only Polish artist to have recognized the value of photography and imbued it with truly artistic values, liberating it from its more commonplace applications.
Over the years, the established practice of Natalia LL has taken on various shades: in her work, a significant element of Polish art for the last three decades, Natalia LL would never adhere to a single solution and has never definitely opted for a single trend. She has seen the limitations of various trends, such as conceptualism, and managed to overcome them and find other solutions, based on her intellect, emotions, and enormous sensitivity, especially visible in her most recent work.
(based on the text by Marek Grygiel, Natalia LL. Gardens of Personalism: Art of Natalia LL 1969-1998 - photography, sculpture, installation, Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw, November 11 - December 26, 1998)
Natalia LL, view of the installation
A Fluffy Tragedy, 1988 at the exhibition
Yesterday and Today, BWA Gallery, Sopot, 1988
Natalia LL, Panic Sphere, installation view,
IFA Galerie Fridriechstrasse, Berlin 1991