I wish to tell a new tale and create my own language: ambiguous, dense, natural, and organic.
Ewa Juszkiewicz’s oil portraits of women turn genre conventions inside out. Beginning by producing a likeness of a historical European painting—her sources date from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century—she expertly imitates the original’s technique and style but replaces the subject’s face with a surreal or grotesque distortion. In some compositions, the Polish artist swathes her sitter’s head in folds of fabric or lush floral arrangements; in others, she redirects an elaborately plaited hairstyle to shield the woman’s face from view. The results of this process narrate a history of effacement and erasure that runs throughout the Western canon of female portraiture.
Born in Gdańsk, Poland, Juszkiewicz lives and works in Warsaw. She earned an MA in painting from the Akademia Sztuk Pięknych, Gdańsk, in 2009, and a PhD from the Akademia Sztuk Pięknych im. Jana Matejki, Krakow, in 2016. Juszkiewicz began her female portrait series in 2011 and continues to explore the unsettling possibilities it holds out, evoking the uncanny without compromising the aesthetic harmony of the images from which she works. Classical in method but subversive, eerie, even rebellious in content, her paintings deconstruct ideals of feminine beauty and the contexts in which they have arisen and persist.
In 2015, Juszkiewicz produced a series of paintings of artworks considered missing, or lost to theft, fire, or conflict. Using archival photographs, she re-created these originals, replacing missing colors and details with her own interpretations. Selecting subjects based on their nostalgic evocation of her own losses, she entwines the shared and the secret, underscoring the commonality of memory. In paintings from 2020, she treats the female body and head in a quasi-sculptural manner, assembling precise depictions of hair, leaves, and fabric into hybrid creatures in which the worlds of nature and the senses are interlaced with storied images and symbols. Interested in contrasts, contradictions, and seemingly incompatible juxtapositions, Juszkiewicz analyzes and transforms the past—in dialogue with the modern-day—broadening our interpretation of history through change and deconstruction.
In vain her feet in sparkling laces glow
November 17, 2020–January 4, 2021
Park & 75, New York
Reanimating History: Ewa Juszkiewicz and Jennifer Higgie in Conversation
Writer and art historian Jennifer Higgie met with Ewa Juszkiewicz to learn more about the painter’s process, her varied inspirations, and her views on the social and emotional roles of art.
Artist to Artist: Rachel Feinstein and Ewa Juszkiewicz
On the occasion of Frieze New York 2021, the two artists discuss remixing conventions, the allure of Rococo, and the importance of research and history within their respective practices.
Ewa Juszkiewicz: In vain her feet in sparkling laces glow
The artist elaborates on the creation of her first solo exhibition in New York.
Lisa Small, senior curator of European art at the Brooklyn Museum, considers the historical precedents for Ewa Juszkiewicz’s painting practice.
Talk and Book Signing
How Surrealism Became New Surrealism
Tuesday, December 12, 2023, 7pm
Gagosian, Beverly Hills
Join Gagosian and Phaidon for a talk by Robert Zeller inside Ewa Juszkiewicz’s exhibition In a Shady Valley, Near a Running Water at Gagosian, Beverly Hills, to celebrate the publication of New Surrealism: The Uncanny in Contemporary Painting, Zeller’s sweeping exposition of Surrealism and its legacy in contemporary art. Demonstrating the many ways in which the art movement that began in the early twentieth century continues to be relevant today, the book presents an international selection of contemporary artists whose works reveal Surrealism’s enduring influence, including Juszkiewicz, whose painting is featured on its cover. After the talk, Zeller will sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase.
Robert Zeller, New Surrealism: The Uncanny in Contemporary Painting (London: Phaidon, 2023)
Ewa Juszkiewicz × RxART
Ewa Juszkiewicz has partnered with RxART, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art, to create Untitled (after Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun), 2021 (2023), with 100 percent of the proceeds funding RxART. Made in collaboration with Powerhouse Arts and Griffin Editions in New York, the limited-edition archival pigment print is based on an oil painting by Juszkiewicz that draws on the traditions of classical European portraiture with added touches of the surreal and grotesque. To inquire about purchasing an edition, email email@example.com.
Ewa Juszkiewicz, Untitled (after Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun), 2021, 2023 © Ewa Juszkiewicz
Art Basel Hong Kong 2022
May 27–29, 2022, booth 1C15
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 with an ensemble of contemporary works by international artists. The gallery’s presentation will feature works by artists including Georg Baselitz, Louise Bonnet, Edmund de Waal, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jennifer Guidi, Simon Hantaï, Hao Liang, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Tetsuya Ishida, Alex Israel, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Rick Lowe, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Giuseppe Penone, Rudolf Polanszky, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Saville, Jim Shaw, Rudolf Stingel, Spencer Sweeney, Rachel Whiteread, and Zeng Fanzhi.
Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Georg Baselitz; © Louise Bonnet; © Zeng Fanzhi; © 2019 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved; © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Martin Wong
El eco de Picasso
Through March 31, 2024
Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain
Organized as part of Picasso Celebration 1973–2023, a series of international exhibitions and events commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death, The Echo of Picasso focuses on his influence on twentieth-century art. The exhibition places Picasso’s practice in dialogue with work by more than fifty artists, including Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Willem de Kooning, Thomas Houseago, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Richard Prince, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Cy Twombly, Tom Wesselmann, and Franz West.
Richard Prince, Untitled (Picasso), 2011, Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, Madrid © Richard Prince. Photo: Pablo Asenjo
Fire Figure Fantasy
Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection
May 12–October 16, 2022
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
Fire Figure Fantasy is the first exhibition to showcase the permanent collection of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, with a focus on recent acquisitions. The presentation revolves around important focal points of the collection: social justice, newly emerging technologies, and recent global crises that challenge and reconfigure museum institutions themselves. Work by Louise Bonnet and Ewa Juszkiewicz is included.
Ewa Juszkiewicz, Ginger Locks, 2021 © Ewa Juszkiewicz
Des corps, des écritures
Regards sur l’art d’aujourd’hui
April 20–August 28, 2022
Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris
This exhibition, whose title translates to Bodies, Writings: A Look at Today’s Art, highlights a selection of artworks created between 1973 and 2022 that were recently acquired by the museum. The works on view explore two distinct but organically linked themes: writing as a form or expression, resistance, or testimony; and the body and its representation, particularly in the context of societal changes. Work by Ewa Juszkiewicz and Jim Shaw is included.
Installation view, Des corps, des écritures: Regards sur l’art d’aujourd’hui, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, April 20–August 28, 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Guillaume Maraud, © Jim Shaw. Photo: © Pierre Antoine
Face à Arcimboldo
May 29–November 22, 2021
Centre Pompidou-Metz, France
This exhibition, whose title translates to Arcimboldo Face to Face, invites visitors to explore the timeless vocabulary of the sixteenth-century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo (c. 1527–1593). The show demonstrates how his work has influenced art history for more than four centuries through the work of 130 artists, including work by Francis Bacon, Glenn Brown, Alex Israel, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, and Ed Ruscha.
Ewa Juszkiewicz, Untitled (After Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun), 2020 © Ewa Juszkiewicz