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Alina SZAPOCZNIKOW (Polish, born 1926 in Kalisz, died 1973 in Praz-Coutant, France) in 1945-1947 studied sculpture in Prague, firstly in Otokar Velimský's studio and then at the Artistic-Industrial College under supervision of Josef Wagner. In 1947 she left for Paris where she started studying at the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Her talent was noticed around 1956, when she started creating very expressive sculptures showing misshapen human bodies and faces. After 1965, she gradually moved away from traditional sculpture by making assamblage compositions and experimenting in plastics. She also made body impressions in vinyl, mostly of herself. By duplicating particular themes she was close to Pop Art and New Realism. She participated in many individual and group exibitions, among others in Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Washington. The Museum of Modern Art in Paris organised a major retrospective of Szapocznikow's work after her death in 1973.

"The 'Tumours' and 'Herbarium' are Alina's last works. Apart from their value as a human testimony they illustrate in a gripping way the naked truth of the creative process, conditioned directly by the imperious drives of organic sensuality. Alina had no need to conceptualise her love of live. She lived that love most intensely, with all her biology, that sensitive energy which became naturally crystallised in the act of creation. She had that rare gift, typical of great sculptors, the innate gift of integrating mental motivation into the flesh of forms, the idea into matter".

Pierre RESTANY, Alina Szapocznikow: The Eternal Language of the Body, Warsaw 1998

"She mastered transparent materials, learning quickly to use the modern ways of sculpture; she knew how to enlarge, reduce and multiply the forms. She reached an ease which allowed her to respond to the demands of the public and at the same time to broaden her own sphere of activity. One expected from her, as from other contemporary artists, a novel approch to the limits of human existence, which she brought about by using the casts of her own body in lamps and furniture. And thus her feminity was able to expand everywhere, bringing with it the images of sexuality and fecundity".

Pierre DESCARGUES, Alina Szapocznikow 1926-1973, Warsaw 1998
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