Flag in window, 1980s

Window of the studio at Pachońskiego street, Kraków


The pink flag was far more for Pinińska than just a prop used in public appearances. It became a defining element of her identity and relations with the world. It seems that it was always present in her mind as a challenge and an obligation, not only for show. For some time in the 1980s, Pinińska had a studio on the 11th floor of an apartment block at Pachońskiego Street in Kraków, where the elevator didn’t even reach.

Artist Dorota Krakowska had a similar studio in the neighboring block. One day she noticed someone waving a pink flag in Maria’s window. Certain it was a call for help – perhaps Maria has had a stroke or broken her leg – she and her friend hurried down the stairs and then up again to her studio. They knock on the door, panting heavily, when Maria opens and explains to them calmly that she was waving the flag because she wanted to invite them for coffee. There were no phone lines in the studios, and mobile telephony wouldn’t come into service in Poland before the early 1990s. In this situation, waving a flag seemed a rational means of inter-studio communication.

Perhaps it was that event that inspired Pinińska to take the photographs reproduced; alternatively, the photos may have inspired her action.

Jerzy Hanusek, “Like Soap Bubbles…” [in:] Maria Pinińska-Bereś. Ephemeral Works 1967 – 1996, edited by Jerzy Hanusek (Warsaw: Fundacja Monopol, 2017), s. 17

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