Joanna Malinowska

Joanna Malinowska Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Joanna Malinowska


Wood, plaster, clay, scraps of Spinoza's Ethics, sweater of Evo Morales, 1 litre of water from the Bering Strait

254 x 264 x 396 cm
It’s impossible to ignore the presence of Joanna Malinowska’s Boli (2009) an oversized, confounding sculptural ‘elephant in the room’ holding court in the centre of the gallery. The rough animal shape is similar to a traditional object of significance to the Bamana culture in West Mali of the same name, also vaguely bovine but usually much smaller.

Traditional bolis represent the Bamanan cosmos and are held in a special location by village elders. They can be made out of earth, blood, cattle dung, kola nuts and other material related to spiritual ritual. Malinowska’s hypertrophied version of the talisman is made out of plaster, clay, hay, wood, scraps from Spinoza’s Ethics, a litre of water from the Bering Strait, and a sweater belonging to Evo Morales, the Bolivian president. Just like with traditional bolis, its materials could be interpreted, but the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Inspiration for Malinowska’s sculpture, performance and video-based projects comes from her fascination with anthropology, and her works often playfully suggest her own take on anthropological field work and interpretation. “Before choosing art, I had considered becoming a cultural anthropologist, but eventually decided that what made me interested in anthropology was not so much the research that aspires to scientific objectivity, but rather the sense of relativity of a cosmic order of one’s own culture in comparison to other possible systems.”

Malinowska’s Boli re-creates the Bamanan original with a new set of materials, and embodies the artist’s interest in re-imagining the way objects are charged with meaning. “If asked to find a common denominator in my recent works,” the young Polish, New York-based artist says, “I would say it is an interest in methodically testing and engaging the invisible, hidden aspects or powers of an object, revitalizing its metaphysical potential, and simply giving it the benefit of the doubt.”

Joanna Malinowska's Biography

Joanna Malinowska
Born in 1972 in Gdynia, Poland
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY


Time of Guerilla Metaphysics, Canada, New York, NY
Mother Earth, Sister Moon (in collaboration with Christian Tomaszewski), Performa’09, New York, NY

Les aventures dans le code § 120.45, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY
String Quintet for 2 cellos, 2 violas and a corpse, performance of a piece commissioned by Malinowska from composer Masami Tomihisa, organized by Venetia Kapernekas Gallery, New York, NY

20 Spojrzen (20 Gazes), Dobra Witryna, Warsaw, Poland
Umanaqtuaq, Venetia Kapernekas Gallery, New York, NY

In Search of The Miraculous, Continued…, Galeria Okna, Contemporary Art Centre, Warsaw, Poland
SHIT HAPPENS/In Search of The Miraculous, Continued, Canada, New York, NY


The Shape Of Things To Come:New Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London

Star City: the future under communism, Nottingham Contemporary Art Center, Nottingham, UK

Levity, Hendershot Gallery, New York, NY
Mike Smith at the Building, Berlin, Germany
Tactical Support: Curator’s Choice (curated by Trevor Smith), Tracy Williams, LTD, New York, NY
Practice, practice, practice, (curated by Mike Smith), Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, TX
Towards Confluence (curated by Kamila Wielebska & Remco de Blaaij), HISK, Gent, Belgium

Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau, Analix Forever, Geneva, Switzerland
Old News 4 – organized by Jacob Fabricius, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN
Kraj, Galeria Sztuki Wspolczesnej, Opole, Poland
Working Title, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY
Don’t Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows (curated by José Luis Blondet), Boston Center For The Arts, Boston, MA

Sway (curated by Olga Britschgi and Gianni Motti) Galerie Analix Forever, Geneva Switzerland
Frei Räume, Kunstgemeinschaft, Hallein, Austria
Come On Pilgrim (curated by Laura Mott), CCS Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Videoevenings, Citric Gallery, Brescia, Italy
Manipulacje. O ekonomii klamstwa (curated by Adam Budak), Contemporary Art Centre, Zamek Ujazdowski,

Manipulacje. O ekonomii klamstwa, Laznia Contemporary Art Centre, Gdansk, Poland
Polyphony of Images, The Consulate General of Poland, New York,
3 Windows 4 You, Gandy Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia
Audio in the elevator, Art in General, New York, NY

Pale Ramon, Galerie Analix Forever, Geneva, Switzerland
Manipulations, On Economies of Deceit, International Biennale of Contemporary Art, National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
At the Mercy of Others –the Politics of Care, Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program Exhibition – CUNY Art Gallery of the Graduate Center. New York, NY
E-Flux Video Rental, Kunst Werke, Berlin, Germany
Post-Diasporas: Voyages and Missions, 1st Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia

New New Yorkers, Contemporary Art Centre -Zamek Ujazdowki. Warsaw, Poland
Symposium Geography of Changes, Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland
E-Flux Video Rental, New York, NY,
Ladyfest Vien 2004, Vienna, Austria
Self (Por) Traits. Video Marathon, Art in General, New York, NY

d.u.m.b.o. Art Under the Bridge Festival, Water Art, Brooklyn, New York, NY
2003 Brewster Project, Brewster, NY
Cinemania(c) 2003, HDLU Istre/mmc Luka, Pula, Croatia
In Practice, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY
Disciplines, McGrath Galleries, New York, NY
Video Rodeo, Canada, New York, NY

Tuckernecker, Canada. New York, NY