Professor Witold Skulicz Award 2018
Zuzanna Dyrda | Poland
woodcut installation, print on human skin, object, digital documentation | 2016/2017 | 195 x 241 x 190 cm
The installation continues the experiments that I undertake since 2013 using everyday objects to create printing matrix and using human skin as the printing surface. This time the woodcut materials are the walls, seats and backrests of an old sauna. Important elements of my artistic process are words combined with interferences in a shape of drawings (figurative, ornamental and purely abstract). The aim of this is to create a graphic space that would make it possible to achieve prints of varied aesthetic qualities and form a complex graphic alphabet. The choice of sauna for creation of this large-scale matrix is not coincidental. It is an intimate space, a sphere of nudity, in which human skin naturally gets in contact with wood. This realization is therefore a game with existing space and the traditional function of a sauna. Associated mainly with purification, in the old days it had magical connotations and was supposed to lead not only to physical, but also to mental and even spiritual purification. The use of the word ‘slob’ – an antonym of cleanliness and purification, which are traditionally represented by the sauna ritual, is meant to put stronger emphasis on my reversal of this place's original function. Instead of getting rid of the contamination and toxins from the body, ‘using’ my installation results in dirtying the skin with print. This word can also have a very pejorative meaning and racist connotations. To a certain extent, the people ‘using’ my sauna are also verbally attacked and this aggression evolves further into physical interference. It appears on different parts of their bodies, takes different forms, sometimes leaving its signs only partially. When this happens, the word ‘slob’ turns into ‘dirt’ (in Polish, slob – brudas, dirt – brud).