Alina Szapocznikow

In the period following the Second World War, Alina Szapocznikow’s experimental works offered a significant critique on the transience of the female body. Szapocznikow extended the idea of sculpture by making casts of her own body or parts of her body in the midnineteen- sixties. In her series of ‘body casts’, the molds used to make the replicas—which at the time were normally only used by artists as a preliminary step in the production of sculptures—were turned into the artwork. The negative mold of the artist’s buttocks cast in polyester becomes a self-portrait in Sculpture- Lampe IX. However, in the piece, her body becomes alienated by being turned into an impersonal, functional, and decorative object for everyday use: a lamp. After being diagnosed with cancer in 1969, Szapocznikow made her own impermanence the subject of her work. In the process she succeeded in bringing together and communicating bodily sensuality and physical pain.