A collaborative art project with sculptor, Wanda Zyborska
and photographer Glyn Davies
"The sculptor Wanda Zyborska and photo artist Glyn Davies have used the language of surrealism to create a collaborative exhibition about Zyborska's experience of breast cancer. The project also explores issues of ageing and the representation of older women, using sculpture, photography and performance. Music for the performance is from a long standing collaboration with the musician and singer Ann Matthews"
This exhibition will show some large scale sculptures by Wanda and six huge A0 size acrylic / metal bonded photographic prints by Glyn Davies. The images contain full nudity and are critical to the understanding of the very real effects of the life saving treatment, and the resulting 'coming-to-terms' with the resulting scarification of the beauty of a woman's body, in addition to other natural issues of ageing and change.
Wanda: "I wanted to make the scar beautiful, to put that at the centre of the work, but not in a way that could be separated from me, or could define me. I want to express my ambiguity about the whole thing, I like the scar, it makes me feel like an Amazon, but I am having a reconstruction, to try and be whole again. That is why I am in an environment created by me, surrounded by my work, coming out of it. I am being looked at and photographed by a male artist who brings all his own ideas and creativity to the task, but it is in my territory.
I asked Glyn Davies to work with me because I wanted the photographs to be technically outstanding. Glyn is an artist who is always able to find the beautiful and the strange in nature. I wondered if he could find it in my ageing and mutilated body. My work is primarily about subjectivity and identity, feminism and the body, and in this exhibition, how all this relates to a woman’s experience of illness. For me it was surreal, and it prompted me to attempt a modern day version of Man Ray’s collaboration with the women surrealists in the 20s and 30s. I tried to imagine how much input the women had, and the poses I set up were loosely related to those in their photographs'
|Detail from one of the main A0 images.|
Glyn: "For me, this collaboration with Wanda has been a fascinating and sometimes soul searching process of observation and understanding, as I was asked to consider notions of beauty, 'sexiness' , and self worth, from a woman's perspective, but also through my own male eyes.
I see that we are so immersed in a narrow world visualisation of 'desirable' women being young, nubile, semi-dressed and sexually vivacious, that I had to consider carefully how Wanda as an older woman, scarred to save her life, might try to see herself fitting within the modern 'ideal'. Equally, I had to ask myself what I see as attractive, womanly, desirable and so on. Fortunately, I see nudity as a beautiful state, regardless of figure type or age, which helps, and beyond that, having photographed women since I was 16 years old, and nude women since I was 17 years old, I seem to find elements of beauty in all people, even the most unlikely, so it was much easier to work with Wanda who has so many natural beautiful qualities anyway. Indeed I was not even slightly shocked by her missing breast, as all I could see before me was a sensual, real and intriguing woman who seemed to have lost none of her 'womanliness' to my mind at least.
It was an honour to be asked to collaborate on Wanda's project and I am pleased with the symbiosis, emotionally, philosophically and creatively - Wanda is simply a beautiful character"
This is the first UK showing of this work, the first was at the Basement Gallery in Vienna in 2010.
The private view of this second show, taking place at the Rhyl Library, Museum and Arts Centre, is Tuesday 10 January 6-8pm, all visitors are welcome.
The exhibition runs from 7th Jan - 4th Feb
Rhyl Library, Museum and Arts Centre
Stryd yr Eglwys / Church Street, Rhyl LL18 3AA