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Themes

I need sex! Don't stop me!

Gender, sexuality and love are a highly prominent theme of the exhibition. They underpin the works of Justyna Matysiak, who creates deeply suggestive images of beautiful women wearing haute couture, complete with self-referential texts. The drawings portray her dreams of marriage, love, fashionable womanly clothes. Matysiak breaks the taboo that surrounds sexuality of people with disabilities with her desperate appeal: “I need sex! Don’t stop me!” Aesthetically refined images are juxtaposed with content that conveys the artist’s revolt against her own solitude, dissatisfaction and her fate as a person doomed to be “different.”

Perceived as an extreme outsider, the artist Marian Henel spent most of his life at the mental hospital in Branice, where he created a series of photographic self-portraits. The artist posed for the photographs dressed as the object of his desires – a buxom woman. Henel treated his body as an artistic medium: he fed on sugar to gain weight for the photographs, sewed special outfits, repeated the same take dozens of times in order to achieve a perfect shot. Tomasz Machciński is another artist who plays with gender stereotypes, albeit in an absolutely conscious and much lighter form. On his artistic path, Machciński created an extensive body of suggestive images of women and men.

A phenomenon in its own right, selected works by Maria Wnęk and Władysław Matlęga confront gender issues from the perspective of Catholic morality. A recurring theme in Wnęk’s work is an alleged rape and threat to her virginity (the artist promised purity to God). Matlęga delivers a commentary on social issues, for instance in his painting “By the Grace of God and not from a Test Tube,” which confronts the IVF phenomenon.