Zofia Kulik

b. 1947, Wrocław

Creator of collages, photographs and installations, sculptor and performance artist. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, including in Oskar Hansen’s studio. She established the KwieKulik duo with Przemysław Kwiek in the early 1970s. She operated the unofficial Studio of Activities, Documentation and Dissemination out of her own private flat at the time, with a focus on archiving her own oeuvre and organising assorted experimental and innovative interventions. She has worked solo since the late 1980s, mainly on photographic collages comprising hundreds of minuscule elements (her own staged photographs). She represented Poland at the 47th Venice Art Biennale in 1997. She lives and works in Łomianki near Warsaw.

The Splendour of Myself III

1997, multiple exposure silver gelatine prints, 182 × 152 cm

In The Splendour of Myself III, Zofia Kulik has developed a self-image based on the majestic representation of a monarch who reigned centuries ago, Elizabeth I. Depriving the queen of her hand-held insignia of power, she replaced them with a cucumber and a blossom of St. John’s wort. The unique and symbol-abundant royal attire is woven of repetitively multiplied human figures in mysterious ritual gestures, all portrayed by Zbigniew Libera, Kulik’s model for many years. The artist tends to develop her symbolic photographic worlds using self-created images and multiplied renditions reflecting European history and tradition. In her commentary on the work, Kulik said, “In olden days, wealthy aristocrats collected assorted valuables, jewellery, and curios. I collect images. It could well be said I am rich in images. I wear them.”

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