Self-Reflection (1980, 1988-1989, fragments)

(manuscripts, January 1980 and 1988-1989. The text was published in the exhibition catalog: Maria Pinińska-Bereś. Ephemeral Works. 1967-1966, Monopol Gallery, Warsaw 2017)


During the same time [1976], a need arises to broaden the work to include more ephemeral practices leaving a charge of contents, actions, acts that contribute to the work. The Kite-Letter is written and sent on the wind from the Kraków suburbs. 1977 sees Praying for Rain, a full-blown performance with a rigorous procedure, resulting in the final situation of a sign. In 1978, there is contact with nature and difficulty in negotiating space. Observation Point for Changes in Art is realized at the artists and theoreticians symposium in Warcino. In the meantime, Passage Beyond the Quilt is realized, an object combined with a performance. The year 1979 offers an opportunity to confront a broad, open expanse of rolling hills and the possibility to pay homage to nature. On 13 September, the first act of “affirmation” is performed. The Place, a portable monument, is erected on a lakeside hill in Świeszyno near Miastko, containing a whole history of reflections on the notion of the monument, its rejection, many years prior, as inconsistent with the spirit of the time, a time when we begin to appreciate natural relics and turn away with aversion from straight-hewn concrete blocks, whatever their design. As an act of the affirmation of nature, the portable monument doesn’t interfere with its surroundings and doesn’t ruin them, its duration being short, it is disassembled and can be reinstalled elsewhere if need be. There is a dramatic tug-of-war with the wind, a hurricane really, and after some initial setbacks the monument prevails, its baldachin turning into a canopy, taut like a sail, standing rigidly for days with the wreathed words, “There is such a place on earth.”

A confrontation with the open space of the landscape, meant not to dominate, like sculptural monuments do, but as a temporary insertion, a tribute, limited in time and not ruining the natural order.

During the same time, the living environment, Soap Bubbles, is presented in a small valley between grassy hills, the set-up similar to a museum fence around an exhibit, [I am] clad all in white, with a white author’s blanket pierced with a pink flag. Self-reclining in the middle as an inherent part of the “work”, the artist herself blows soap bubbles in the air, a symbol of her own work, of its fragility and impermanence. Recurring throughout 1979 is another time-stretched performance, also with the possibility of multiplications, the performance For a Standard, a Flute, and Wandering. [crossed-out fragment: The whiteness of the snow, the infinite whiteness of the snow brings the possibility of realizing the performance, The Banner. On a pink sledge a rolledup banner and other accessories; on site, in a vast snowy field, the fluttering banner is installed, with the word “Pink” appearing on a pink background in white letters, and the word “White” written multiple times with pink spray paint on the snow around the banner. Then the unlocked sledge bell jingles while making circles around the pink and white.]

Pink and white are constituent colours not only of the objects but also of the performance itself. The whiteness of the snow and the pink of the banner, the sledge, the costume. On the pink banner, the word “Pink” in white letters, and around it the word “White” sprayed in pink paint on the snow.

The whiteness of the snow and the pink of the banner, the sledge, and the costume are elements of the performance, The Banner, based on a tautological gesture that was also a self-referential statement.

January 1980





. . . Besides making a number of objects, the year 1981 saw me realize the performances Landscape Annexation and Living Pink, the latter at the International Kraków Meetings, an event devoted in large part to ephemeral practices. My presentation took place on 15 November. In a fenced-off section of the Planty park, I planted a pink rose bush and covered it with straw for winter. I turned my pink apron into a flag, asking, in three languages, “Will roses bloom pink in spring?” . . . In those years [1982–1985] I did two “actions”: Just a Broom in 1984 – a feigned floor-sweeping dance with a broom-as-flag, already without my trademark colour, and Washing Hands in 1986, washing my hands wearing one black and one white glove.




Translated by Marcin Wawrzyńczak


copyright Fundacja im. Marii Pinińskiej-Bereś i Jerzego Beresia, 2022 | made by studio widok