Selected works by Goshka Macuga

Goshka Macuga
A Time to Live, A Time to Die


hand tooled leather in tray frame

52 x 146 cm

Taking her sourced images from publications, and reactivating them in tooled leather, Goshka Macuga’s A Time To Live, A Time To Die replicates the authoritative material of book covers. Creating a double entendre ‘cover version’, Macuga’s drawing is a composite of other artists’ work, establishing a new context for image interpretation via juxtaposition of chance selection: the girl taken from Picasso, the book from Max Ernst, and birds from images from the 1905 Russian Revolution. Appropriating and reordering these disparate elements, Macuga constructs her own suggestive narrative based on an eclectic and disjointed history. Indelibly engraved on skin, A Time To Live, A Time To Die literally frames the ingrained fabric of memory as tractile experience.

Goshka Macuga
Library Table


oak table, leather bound books, customised lamps

140 x 206 cm

Incorporating reference to eclectic historical materials, events, and concepts, Goshka Macuga’s installations weave subjective narratives from the fabric of accepted cultural knowledge or ‘fact’. Her works often take the form of faux museum displays that highlight the authority by which the past is framed and revised according to temporal ideas. Library Table was inspired by the architect Frederick Kiesler who, in conjunction with the collector Peggy Guggenheim, developed inventive methods for displaying art. Comprised of an imposing desk and five artists’ monographs, Library Table imprints scholarly assumption with Macuga’s own bias. The books are recovered in tooled leather depicting Macuga’s favourite images by the artists who have most influenced her work: Picabia, Polke, Warhol, Kippenberger, and Duchamp. Underneath the tomes, the table is carved with Kiesler’s drawings; the lamps were fabricated with reference to Kiesler, with one metaphorically branched to allude to the multiplicity of history’s interpretation and use.

Goshka Macuga
Madame Blavatsky


Carved wood, fibreglass, clothes, chairs

114.3 x 190.5 x 73.6 cm

Madame Blavatsky was a 19th-century Russian aristocrat and founder of the Theosophical Society, an institution based in occult practices that still exists today. Blavatsky was closely associated with the Russian avant garde, an art movement which was expunged by the practical ideologies of communism; one of the tenants in her writings was that somnambulism – a trance-like condition between waking and sleep or ‘life’ and ‘death’ – was a creative state. Macuga’s sculpture pictures a floating Madame Blavatsky (levitation was one of her many spiritual powers), hovering between two chairs. The illusionary technique used is taken from a book on Victorian parlour tricks. The hands and face of the figure are made from carved and painted wood, and are similar to religious icons of the time. Garbed in purple, the colour of both magic and mourning, Madame Blavatsky’s effigy emits a transcendental aura, channelling the dark art of inspiration from beyond.

Goshka Macuga
Study for a portrait of Lord Byron (Lord Byron Table)


Wood, paint, ink, pen nibs, scissors, paper and glass

100 x 150 cm



Homeless Furniture is a site-specific installation by the Polish-born artist Goshka Macuga. Specificity is key to Macuga's practice, not only in engaging the space itself but also the wider artistic community, each becoming an integral part of the creative process. For Transmission Gallery, Macuga has selected works by local artists which she has displayed in assorted cabinets and curio-boxes, provoking interesting questions on the making, viewing and ownership of work.
These wooden cabinets have an antiquated feel, conjuring up images of dusty museum displays. However, this idea is soon shattered when encountering some of the works on offer. A bubblegum dinosaur, a knitted poster and collaged waterbottles are just a few of the curios selected, all of which embody a raw quality, contrasting nicely with the structures that house them. These cabinets are propped and stacked, resulting in a concentrated composition which diagonally slices the gallery space.
Within this framework a dialogue is created, succeeding most where the cabinets and works fuse, either on a physical or interpretive level. The former is manifested through Macuga's seamless propping and positioning of certain pieces, making the distinction between work and construction difficult. This is evident when considering a section of Karla Black's floor piece, which seems disjointed and distant from its previous sprawling form. However, it is the very sectioning of the work, its new size and structure, which makes it possible to be viewed as both a work and a construction, blurring the boundaries in the process.



As the first exhibition of 2003 Gasworks Gallery has commissioned a major new project by Goshka Macuga. The project will involve the recreation of a section of Sir John Soane's Museum at 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, the famous 'Picture Room', inside Gasworks Gallery. Within this facsimile, Macuga will curate an exhibition of artworks from thirty collaborating artists.
Macuga's work encompasses sculpture and installation and explores the boundaries that define exhibition structures. Her practices seeks to put the categories of curator and gallery into a new relationship with each other by providing sculptural environments for the exhibition of other people's work. Macuga's practice positively challenges the notion of relationships between artists and curators, examines the importance of and the problematic issues inherent in authorship and explores the role of the gallery within both the curatorial and art-making process.