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The 80s


In two texts: “States of concentration” and “A word about body” Natalia LL stressed the most important points of her position in art. Her statements were also a consequence of her critical attitude towards so called “medial art”, where formal and technical problems were basic ones. The first text postulates “concentration on idea and existence. Self-union”. The other text shows art as the domain where existential contradictions between the sphere of consciousness and matter can be solved. Art is understood here as a mentioned state of concentration allowing to overcame contradictions. The art of body, which is a way of indyvidual living, makes the body of art, that means its appearances, not allowing at the same time that the inevitable in the material world death of a body was also death of art. “States of concentration” were realized in the form of seances or performances made before a camera.

Individual exhibitions:
— States of concentration, ON Gallery, Poznań
— Pyramid, Spojrzenia Gallery, Wrocław

Participation in exhibitions:
— Wrocław Vanguard, Jatki Gallery, Wrocław
— 35 years of painting in Polish People’s Republic, CBWA Warsaw
— Polish Photography 1839—1979; CBWA Warsaw and Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź
— Book-Art-Documentation, Labirynt Gallery, Lublin
— Drawing, Muzeum Narodowe im. Pułaskiego, Warka
— Feministische Kunst Internationale; Groningen, Middelburg, Breda
— Kunst Internationale, Noorbrandts Museum, Den Bosch
— Biennial of Art, Gallery, Poznan
— Extremal Art, PERMAFO Gallery, Wrocław
— Performance in the film “Extremal Art” by Andrzej Sapija


Continues series of seances dedicated to specific states of consciousness with drawing notations (series “A touch of devil” and “Drawings from pyramid”), paintings and photographical registrations.
Acts as the curator of 2nd International Drawing Triennale in Wrocław, promoting a conception of drawing as a basic notation in art of any kind. Triennale is accompanied with the publication “Art and thought” which is a continuation of PERMAFO programme.
“(Total empiricism — holism makes) that also formal sciences and philosophy and art participate in a process of empirical testing of knowledge, having characteristics of empirical sciences about the world. In this context we view subjective experiences of dreaming states in pyramid made by Natalia LL and other subjective experiences, apart from objective experiments…” (fragment of the text “Geometronic Energy” by Bonawentura Kochel, published in “Unidentified Energies II” ed. PERMAFO Gallery).

Individual exhibitions:
— Seance “Adoration”, St. Jean Catedral, Lyons
— Seance “Twitchs”, Ślad Gallery, Łódź
— Record (drawings: “The touch of devil”), Jatki Gallery, Wrocław
— States of concentration (private seances), Michałkowa

Participation in exhibitions:
— Troisième Symposium International d’Art Performance, Oeuvres Plastiques des Artistes de la Performance, Lyon
— Typisch Frau, Bonner Kunstverein und Magers Gallery, Bonn
— Feministische Kunst Internationale, Nijmeegs Museum
— 70—80: New phenomenon in polish art of 70ties, BWA Sopot
— Polish Photography in Seventies, BWA Lublin
— Unidentified Energies, PERMAFO Gallery, Wrocław
— Labyrinths of Self-consciousness (the exhibition accompanying International Drawing Triennale), Historical Museum, Wrocław


In the years 1981—1983 she very intensely concentrates upon the thought of mystics (eg. St. John of the Cross), realizes “white” and “black” seances, creates series of drawings, photographs and paintings entitled “Mountain of Perfection”.

Private seances: “The touch of devil”, Michałkowa

Participation in exhibitions:
— Gott oder Geissel?, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn Erotic in der Kunst, Kunstverein, Munich
— La Photographie Polonaise, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris


Since 1980 continues series of paintings where final picture is made through gradual diminishing the layer of paint.
Natalia LL makes paintings since 1958 and treats it as complementary to the rest of her art. She said: “Painting is a mature, professional and conscious realisation whereas photography and drawing are notations of the first conception, an idea not quite conscious.” A photographical documentation of performance she supplemented with drawings and paintings as she thought photography was too inspiritual, understandable only for her. E.g. the seance “States of concentration” in 1984 was supplemented with paintings “The Mountain of Perfection” (Mount Carmel). This mountain could not be photographed as it existed only in her imagination, so it was painted. “It seems to me that through photography or drawing the reality of art can be recognized yet to show it fully and wholly a painting must be used. as it is rich in very long tradition, is the mature and competent way of formalizing that what cannot be verbalized.”

Individual exhibition:
— The touch of devil, BWA Lublin (objects made of crosses packed in cloth, drawings and performance)

Participation in exhibitions:
— Record, BWA Lublin
— Art on the turn of 70/80ies, Gallery of Współczesny Theatre, Wrocław


On the symposium in Lublin presents the text “Body art and performance. Consecration of the man’s body and its adoration in art.” She states there among others:
“Art, which is unusual product of man, charming independent galaxies of spirit out of elements of matter, is simultaneously the place where all intuitions and longings of man appear with exceptional suggestiveness. Body Art and then performance seem to be the unrepeatable trial of explaining relations between individual and collective. As we die and not-die at the same time, the key to understanding complexity of man is a body (…) Man’s transcendence occurs in body and through body, which is very real and personally individual.(…) Experiments of physics and contemporary cosmology make specific picture of cosmic laws from the body’s point of view (…) We should think over the existential sense of the terms: body art, and through analogy: the body of art. So instead of picture, work, we speak about a body which carries and constitutes art. (…) Described in The New Testament, the mysterious fact of transfiguration happened before materially concrete experience of Golgotha and Resurrection. By intuition we can feel that it might be the indication at the complicated duality of body’s nature. Re-self-presentive art, where object and subject of art are with painful suggestiveness taken as a whole, embraces This duality. Such art is the exemplification of body’s spirituality.(…) Body, through a magic gesture, becomes a work of art.”

Individual exhibition:
— “Zustande” and seance “Rot und Schwarz”, Galerico Gallery, Rosenheim

Participation in exhibitions:
— Artistic Panel: Art-History, Współczesny Theatre Gallery, Wrocław
— Intelectual Trend in Polish Art after Second World War (exhibition and symposium), BWA Lublin


Several months stay in Kuwait, where at Subbija desert realizes seances: “Scorpio Dance” and “Flight”.

Participation in exhibitions:
— Exhibition of the Wrocław circle, Archdiocese Museum, Warsaw
— Contemporary Polish Art Photography, CBWA Warsaw and National Museum in Wrocław
— Wrocław Art, National Museum, Wrocław
— Visual Arts at West and Northern Territories, BWA Olsztyn
— International Encyclopaedia of Photographers, Camera Obscura, Geneva
— Poolse Avantgarde, Cultureel Centrum, Berchem
— Quinzena Multimedia: 18 1’atitudes de performance, Lisbona


Begins the series of activities entitled “Loose Space”, being a try to define subjective space of art. These were realisations through painting, photography, film and video. In the text “Loose Space”, published in 1987, she writes among others:
“Art, being in my opinion an altruistic game and a Tragedy at the same time, is by definition destined for “artificial” investigation of that part of our reality which is determined by Absolute and Satan. The tool of art is fit for these extreme phenomena, registering states of our spirit, Person and Antiperson, which as elements of good and evil, divinity and devilishness, are simultaneously parts of our nature. The experience of the loose space art seems also to indicate the right vocation of artist: defining and naming a melancholy and despair, fear and fright, but also Hope and Love, who are the true daughters of Goodness.”

Participation in exhibitions:
— Symposium “Light of Silence”, Ślad Gallery STK, Łódź
— Polish Photography 1955—1984, Umelecko-prumyslove Museum, Prague
— Second International Portfolio of Artists: Photography Exhibition, Liget Gallery, Budapest


Writes the text: “Art and Liberty”.

Individual exhibitions:
— Art and Liberty (the cycle “Mystic Heads” — mixing photgraphy with painting — and installation made of paintings), BWA Lublin
— Loose Space, “Na Ostrowie” Gallery, Wrocław

Participation in exhibitions:
— II Biennial of New Art, Muzeum Ziemi Lubuskiej, Zielona Góra
— International Art Market “Interart ’87”, Poznań
— Contemporary Art of Wrocław, National Museum, Wrocław
— Self, Frauen Museum, Bonn
— Meetings of artists, critics and art critics in Sandomierz


Individual exhibitions:
— Loose Space, Mała Gallery, Warsaw
— Downy Tragedy (installation: paintings, beech wood, rabbit fur), Grodzka Gallery, Lublin

Participation in exhibitions:
— Metaphor ’88, Muzeum Lubelskie, Lublin
— Yesterday and Today (installation: Downy Tragedy), BWA Sopot
— Polish Intermedial photography, BWA Poznań
— Presentation of Labirynt Gallery, Centre en Art Actuelle Lieu, Quebec; also in The Alexandre Center, Halifax
— Polish Perceptions (Ten Contemporary Photographers 1977—1988), Collins Gallery, Glasgow


After the brake, since 1981, acts as the organizer of the International Drawing Triennale in Wrocław.

Individual exhibitions:
— Painting and photography (the cycles: Panic fear, Destructs, Downy tragedy), District Museum, Wałbrzych
— Metaphysical Heads 1987—1989, Gallery A, Poznań (during “Interart ’88”)

“The artist writes about liberty and choice and this is optimistic (…) Whereas the creation of Natalia LL in the late 80ies is at any rate pessimistic and even full of existence’s dread. Between paintings (…) fluids of decay, passing, destruction and lameness flow…” (fragment of the introduction to the catalogue of Natalia LL exhibition in Wałbrzych by Ryszard Ratajczak)

Participation in exhibitions:
— Lochy Manhattanu (installation: “Secrets”), Łódź
— Personalities of Intermedial Photography, Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw
— Ausstellung Project, Galerie New Space, Fulda
— Art as private gesture, BWA Koszalin
— Transgressions: Borderlands of Photography, BWA Wrocław
— 150 years of photography, National Museum, Wrocław
— Polish Contemporary Art in Czech Art Collections, Prague
— What is photography: 150 years of photography, Prague

text: Adam Sobota