• WHO WAS 1968?
    28 Sept 2018 − 13 Jan 2019

    LENTOS Kunstmuseum WHO WAS 1968? Art, Architecture, Society Curated by: Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer Loans by Kontakt from: Heimrad Bäcker, Stanisław Dróżdż, VALIE EXPORT, Stano Filko, Běla Kolářová, Július Koller, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak A decade of eruptions, departures and redefinitions in the steel city Linz. The year I968 marks a turning point that ushered in a new era. Across Western Europe and in the United States Student protests and workers’ revolts called into question the post-war power structure itself, while Soviet tanks bulldozed the Prague Spring into the ground and signalled the end of the hope that the Eastern Bloc would open up to the West. This exhibition harks back to the echoes of I968 in Linz and Upper Austria. Embracing the arts, architecture, music, film and literature, it unfolds for the first time a synoptic map on which key figures and moments of local history – some largely unknown to this day – are accorded a place. It enables visitors to embark on exploratory trips and to survey the rich fabric of relationships and linkages that includes points of contact with international scenarios and trends. Experiments in the aesthetic field were begun with a view to escaping from the cultural stuffiness of the first two post-war decades. The participating artists include: Claudia von Alemann, Ant Farm, Heimrad Bäcker, Josef Bauer, Bill Bollinger, Dietmar Brehm, Gerd Conradt, Waltraut Cooper, Stanisław Dróżdż, Erró, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Stano Filko, Helmuth Gsöllpointner, Timo Huber, Johann Jascha, Martha Jungwirth, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gerhard Knogler, Běla Kolářová, Juliús Koller, Peter Kubelka, Zofia Kulik, KwieKulik, Maria Lassnig, Fritz Lichtenauer, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Josef Nöbauer, OHO, Yoko Ono, Gina Pane, Friederike Pezold, Cora Pongracz, Chris Reinecke, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Zorka Sàglovà, Dominik Steiger, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević, Goran Trbuljak, Tucumàn Arde, Jiřì Valoch, Agnés Varda, Peter Weibel, Hannah Wilke, Jana Želibská, Želimir Žilnik, Zünd-Up


Ewa Partum

The work of Ewa Partum contributes to the pioneering artistic analyses on the position of women evolving in Poland at a time when feminist theories were still unheard of. While the United States saw the second wave of feminism as early as Betty Friedan’s publication of “The Feminist Mystique” in 1963, Partum’s earliest work, in which she traces the contours of her body on a white canvas in the open landscape around Sopot on the Baltic Sea, dates back only to 1965. This work, entitled “Presence”, marks the representation of woman in public space—which the artist has since continued demonstrating over the years in various performances, be it with her own naked body or in combination with signs and letters to signify the non-explicit. The latter is put forth in the reverse action “Absence”, where one sees only the contours of the body’s shadows plus a pair of black rubber boots. This diptych from 1965 marks woman’s split position within society, which Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing analyzed in his 1960 publication “The Divided Self”, a seminal book on the conditions of mental deviation as a sign of social pressure which also influenced the work of VALIE EXPORT. 

The impossibility of an adequate representation of the subject in public is manifested in the 1971 performance “Legality of Space”, where Partum placed traffic signs and various textual plates on a square at the center of Łódź. Here the artist demonstrates the restrictions placed upon the individual in public while also rendering hyperbolic the absurdities implied by mechanisms of political control, with one of the signs translating as “Forbidding forbidden.” The transgression of forbidden territory which lies at the center of Partum’s art represents a general feature of feminist practices since the 1960s, forcing the dissolution of the inequalities between private and public life. One of the artist’s important performances in this context is entitled “Change – My Problem is the Problem of a Woman” (1979), where Partum uses her whole body, onto which make-up artists apply make-up to make one part of the artist’s body look old, while the artist engages with the audience. In the background one can hear the recordings of texts by Lucy Lippard, VALIE EXPORT and the artist herself; these mark the interrelations of feminism at that time despite often-difficult channels of communication.



1945, Grodzisk Mazowiecki / PL

Partum studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz (Poland) from 1963 to 1965, and at the Department of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (Poland) from 1965 to 1970. She belongs to the first generation of the conceptual avant-garde in Poland in the 1960s and 1970s and is a pioneer of feminist art.


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