Dresses I Haven’t Worn is Magda Moskwa’s second exhibition at lokal_30. It’s also the first comprehensive survey of her work with textile, which embraces textile print design and sewing garments. This vital but definitely more seldom showcased avenue of the artist’s practice is pursued on a par with her painterly and sculptural work. In 1996, Moskwa received her diploma from the Władysław Strzemiński State Higher School of Visual Arts in Łódź, where she had studied at the Faculty of Textile and Fashion: Department of Textile Print. The spirit of Łódź fashion and textile designers has been hovering over her work, but without determining it excessively.
Clothing design, including dresses, has always been on my mind and may be treated as a record of my female emotions (much more than in my paintings), which have been changing throughout many years. Although I never wore them, dresses have always been present in my work (perhaps as a substitute for real ones), the artist explains. The dress is a disciplining force, it takes away your freedom of movement. It squeezes your body into a beauty canon and exposes it to male gaze. Rejecting the dress is tantamount to rejecting the rigid and constraining frames of womanhood as defined by patriarchy.
At the heart of Moskwa’s work sits the human being and their in-depth portrayal. Clothing helps define them more precisely: sometimes by corseting them tightly, and sometimes by becoming their second skin. But it always means something. In 1995, Moskwa created a painting with the inscription “Nomana I know Nomana you know and a white dress”, and the same year made her first garment-objects, including said white dresses. A whole collection has been developed throughout the years. Some of her paintings therefore resembled real pieces of clothing, anticipating them. “The garment-objects I sew are a form of portrait, something of a ‘mental uniform’, an ‘imprint’ of human personal aura”, Moskwa states.
Clothing preserves memory, “it carries traces, scents, shapes left by the body”, while making human mind and soul materialise, becoming a second skin. The structure of garments enforces a proper body posture, bestows form on the body. “My garments, which in the course of time began to adopt the form of stiff corsets, were also intended to express and, in a sense, convey and stimulate specific mental states”, Moskwa emphasises.
Garment-objects of Moskwa’s design are characterised by the use of austere fabrics; their forms are shaped by resewing, turning inside-out, draping, and deconstructing the artist’s worn-out clothes. They resemble straitjackets or uniforms, but are not functional – their structures veil and stiffen the body. With the help of accessories, such as a bathing cap, they almost completely homogenise those who wear them and thus become something of a case.
Magda Moskwa studied at the State Higher School of Visual Arts (PWSSP) in Łódź, where she received her diploma in 1996 from Prof. Maria Zielińska’s Decorative Print Studio. She works with painting, sculpture, and designs unique items of clothing. Winner of the Guarantee of Culture Award in 2015 and the Jan Cybis Award in 2020. Her works belong to the collections of the National Museum in Warsaw, Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, City Art Gallery in Łódź, Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts in Łódź “Signs of the Times”, Regional Collection of the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art in Szczecin, and private galleries.
|Dresses I Haven’t Worn
|Place / venue
|21 April – 1 June 2023
|Bartosz Górka lokal_30 Magda Moskwa