Aleksandra Waliszewska, Installation view, BLUM Los Angeles, 2023, Photo: Hannah Mjølsnes

Aleksandra Waliszewska

Agata Słowak, Aleksandra Waliszewska

A Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Curated by Alison M. Gingeras
March 23 – May 2, 2024
Tokyo

"Pictures Girls Make": Portraitures

Curated by Alison M. Gingeras
September 9 – October 21, 2023
Los Angeles

Biography

Aleksandra Waliszewska (b. 1976, Warsaw, Poland) is known for her dark, atmospheric paintings that are steeped in art historical erudition. In fact, Waliszewska considers herself a contemporary heir to the Symbolist movement of the turn of the last century. The entwinement of sex and death looms large in her dense visual narratives. Empowered female protagonists dominate her paintings, frequently depicting apocalyptic scenes populated by animals, imaginary creatures, zombies, hybrid monsters, and the living dead. Often allegorical in nature, her paintings probe the human condition as they grapple with primordial feelings of fear, anxiety, desire, and death. Coded references to the industrial landscapes of Poland, its primeval forests and swamps, as well as to specific national mythologies permeate her oeuvre and ground her work in Slavic visual culture.  Her sly reworkings draw from a rich personal canon of European art—from the primitive Flemish master Petrus Christus to Georges de La Tour to Młoda Polska (Young Poland) painters, from the Belgian Symbolist Léon Spilliaert to Leonor Fini—to name but a few of her recurrent citations.

Born and raised in Warsaw, Waliszewska hails from a matriarchal lineage of female artists. Four generations of women in her family were practicing artists, including her grandmother, Anna Dębska, an accomplished postwar sculptor known for her animal imagery. With this unique background, Waliszewska has built her practice on this rich and unusual heritage of imagistic storytelling.

Over the past decade, Waliszewska has garnered an expansive international following on social media and via pop cultural appearances of her work on book covers such as Nick Cave’s The Complete Lyrics 1978–2022 and fashion collaborations with houses such as The Vampire’s Wife. Beguiled by her visual universe, Waliszewska’s popular reach has won a broad audience that transcends the confines of the contemporary art world. 

Waliszewska lives and works in Warsaw, Poland. Her work has been the subject of a major museum exhibition, The Dark Arts: Aleksandra Waliszewska and the Symbolism from the East and North, at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2022) and M.K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas, Lithuania (2023). 

Numerous public institutions have acquired her work, including the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece; the National Museum, Gdańsk, Poland; the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland; and The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece. She has published over twenty artist’s books, including PROBLEM and SOLUTION, with the cult French imprint Timeless, and collaborated with directors Athina Rachel Tsangari and Agnieszka Smoczynska on the films The Capsule (2012) and The Lure (2015), respectively.

Selected Works

Related Publications

The Vampire's Wife x Aleksandra Waliszewska T-shirt

The Vampire's Wife x Aleksandra Waliszewska Tote

The Vampire's Wife x Aleksandra Waliszewska Badge

“Pictures Girls Make”: Portraitures

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