The 1970s represented a period of revival in Polish art which, among other aspects, manifested itself in the interest artists took in new media. A strong tendency to engage with the moving image was an especially striking feature of work created during this time, with particular regard to the nascent medium of video, first appearing in the realm of Polish art in 1973. Women were pioneers in the fields of both avant-garde film and video, despite the extremely limited access to film cameras (and especially portable video cameras) in Poland under communism. Notwithstanding these obstacles, female artists succeeded in developing their own, original filmic language, creating both analytical and conceptual works — structural films and impressionistic pieces devoted to questioning gender and the experience of womanhood from a variety of perspectives.
Works that grapple with both of these topics are featured in Avant-Garde Films by Polish Women Artists of the 1970s, which includes recently rediscovered films, such as ARTA by Teresa Tyszkiewicz (which had not been digitized until 2020), as well as pieces by Jadwiga Singer, whose archive has been in the custody of the Arton Foundation since 2018. Other artists included in the program are Jolanta Marcolla, Iwona Lemke-Konart, Izabella Gustowska, Natalia LL, and Ewa Partum.
Stream Avant-Garde Films by Polish Women Artists of the 1970s (currently available for pre-order) from January 13–26 at vimeo.com/ondemand/arton.
The rental fee for the whole program is $8 (with a discounted ticket price of $5 for AFA Members and Polish Cultural Institute New York subscribers). Those who rent the program will also gain access to a pre-recorded video discussion with several of the filmmakers, moderated by program curator Marika Kuźmicz.