New York

Alina Szapozcinikow

BROADWAY 1602 | Uptown

“Ontological poverty” is a phrase Alina Szapozcnikow once used to describe the immanent instabilities of the human body. A single example of impermanence in the world, for Szapozcnikow, it was nonetheless human composition—flesh, blood, and bone—that was “the most fragile” site. But such delicate constitution, as the artist saw it, allowed for a complex range of emotions and experiences. For while (or better, because) ontologically impoverished, the body was consequently “the only source of all joy, of all pain and of all truth.”

Szapozcnikow was no stranger to such radical antinomies and body/mind complications. Born in Kalisz, Poland, in 1926, the Jewish artist, most of whose immediate family died while she was young, was held in Nazi death camps during the German occupation. Having survived the Holocaust, she concentrated, in the late 1940s and early ’50s, on producing representations

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