Woman with a Ladder
Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Kraków, 18 October 1995
my performance will be called Woman with a Ladder and will take some 10–15 minutes to complete. I will need a wooden ladder, possibly a lightweight one, not tall so I can lift it, as well as a small hammer. I will need to drive a nail into the wall.
A ladder stands in front of the wall. I enter, dressed in white, wearing a straw hat and carrying a small pink handbag, and approach it. I climb onto the first rung. I pull out a pink lipstick and a small mirror from the bag; I paint my lips (to signal who is the writing subject) and write “Kobieta” [Woman] on the wall. I step off the ladder, pull out a pink hair ribbon, and tie a bow on the ladder. Then I move the ladder a bit, climb on it again, higher this time, and write “z” [with] on the wall. I descend and tie a pink bow on the other side of the ladder. I move the ladder again, climb even higher on it, and write “drabiną” [ladder, in the instrumental case] on the wall. I get off and tie another pink bow. I move the ladder for the last time, grab the hammer and nail, and climb high on the ladder. I hammer the nail into the wall, take off my hat, and hang it on the nail. Then I utter the words that have been written on the wall, “Kobieta z drabiną” [Woman with a ladder], in French, German, and English for the sake of the international audience. The decorated ladder remains in front of the wall with the caption and the hat. In the exhibition, it is accompanied by a photograph taken during the performance.
Photo by Paweł Chawiński