“Mixing various genres and redefining conventional representations is my great passion. This fascination and curiosity have always driven me and pushed me forward.” — Ewa Juszkiewicz
The Polish artist Ewa Juszkiewicz is best known for her subversion of conventional and stereotypical perceptions of feminine beauty. Many of Juszkiewicz’s works modify the elegant female subjects of 18th-19th century European classical paintings with clouds of hair, lush plants, elegant draperies or other banal, absurdist fripperies. By distorting and reinterpreting traditional European styles through a provocatively surrealist sense of the peculiar and the disconcertingly ‘unwomanly’ take on the unheimlich (or ‘unhomely’), the artist critically challenges the visual conventions attached to the social roles and positions of women in history.
Juszkiewicz became particularly interested in historical portraiture early in her artistic journey. Fascinated by the skilled techniques deployed in the aesthetic depiction of female figures, Juszkiewicz started to explore the evolution of female portraiture over the centuries. Realising that women were often portrayed according to a particular formula or convention, with standardised poses and gestures that offered up no deep emotion or individuality, these pretty portraits captured likenesses for posterity but objectified and muted their female sitters at the same time. The dissonance in these paintings motivated Juszkiewicz to revitalise history by developing her own representations of women in culture and society.
Juszkiewicz is represented by Gagosian. She received her MA in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk and a PhD from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. She has exhibited internationally in solo and group shows including at the Centre Pompidou, Metz (2021) and Almine Rech Gallery, London (2020), and her works form part of prestigious public collections including the National Museum in Gdańsk and the the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.