Magda Stawarska-Beavan’s installations combine moving image, sound and works on paper. She encourages us to reflect on our memories of places, and to question our relationships to the cities we think we know well and have lived in, or those places that we are drawn to without knowing why. She poses the question: How does the trauma of loss, passed from one generation to another, translate to the structure, the architecture and absent buildings within a city?
The installation Bracka 40, 2020 examines the city of Łódź in the artist’s native Poland, providing glimpses of Jewish lives obliterated by the Nazi ghettoisation of the city during the Second World War. Her delicate panels of printed and hand-painted paper hang from the ceiling, depicting rooms where rituals of parting and death once took place. Images of a cemetery are accompanied by a soundscape of birdsong and traffic noise, illustrating how an important layer of the cultural fabric was torn from the landscape, never to be replaced or mended. The artist based her research on recordings of first-hand accounts of Polish Jewish women’s lives from the Oral History British Library Sound Archive and on street plans, maps and architectural drawings at the Łódź State Archives There is a sense in the installation of things being postponed and unresolved, of songs unheard, clothes unmade and treasured buildings replaced by busy car parks and scruffy playgrounds.
- Artwork Details: 300 x 380 x 300cm
- Material description: Installation with paper and wooden structures, screenprints and digital print on Awagami Washi papers, 4 channel audio
- Credit line: © the artist. Installation view at Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Alexander Christie
- Medium: Installation
- Accession number: ACC19/2020