Anna Ciba: When You Look Into My Eyes, What Do You See?

Opening: 21 September, 6 p.m.

Exhibition: 22 Sep–7 Dec 2022

Curator: Zuzanna Wilska

Graphic identification: Zofia Kofta

Font: Jeremy Mickel, Forest Young

“When you look into my eyes, what do you see?” asks Anna Ciba in one of her paintings. The inscription is the first element of the composition – the second is the heart, situated centrally, slightly to the left, like in the human body. Two rays depart from the symbol, as if cartoonish smears suggesting a pulse. The painting is large, at least two metres high and over one metre wide. The exact size is unknown to me, as I only have a reproduction of the work in a black and white photograph from 1987.

When You Look Into My Eyes, What Do You See? is a question about how to study and present the history of a forgotten artist whose work is largely inaccessible: paintings have been lost, performances were not documented, concerts were not recorded. An artist whose career developed promisingly in the 1980s and came to an abrupt end at the beginning of the following decade. The exhibition at the Arton gallery is the first presentation of Anna Ciba’s work since the 1980s, featuring previously unpublished archival materials and her late, surviving works.

Anna Ciba was born in Warsaw in 1957. From 1982 to 1987 she studied at the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts under Professor Stefan Gierowski. She majored in the studio of wall painting. In 1987, after defending her diploma, she went on an artistic scholarship to Switzerland (Université de Genevé), where she developed her skills in the department of computer graphics. At the turn of the decade, together with Katarzyna Sypień and Klaudia Burdzyńska, she set up the band Les Chattes en Or. She participated in group exhibitions (among others): Expression of the 1980s at BWA Sopot (1986), What’s Up? The Newest Art at the Norblin factory in Warsaw (1987), Women’s Painting at the Dziekanka Gallery (1987) and Freshly Painted. Young Polish Painting 1982–1987 at CBWA Zachęta (1988). Her selected individual exhibitions include White and Red Performance (1982) and Black and White (1985) at Pracownia Dziekanka, 7265 c.d. at Stodoła in Warsaw (1986); her last individual exhibition was held in the series Presentations of the Dziekanka Gallery at Wielka 19 in Poznań (1987).In the mid-1980s, Ciba was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In August 2018, the artist disappeared – she left her flat in Warsaw’s Old Town and has not returned since.

 

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