artcritical - Art Review - November 25, 2015
“From the pus and blood from a shattered heart, one must shape art.” –Alina Szapocznikow
There is no such thing as easing yourself into the sculpture of Alina Szapocznikow. From the moment you step into the eponymously titled show of her work, currently up at Andrea Rosen Gallery, you will be deeply provoked, moved, and unsettled. Szapocznikow’s Piotr (1972), a six-foot tall sculpture of the artist’s son, confronts the viewer upon entry. Made when he was 18 and Szapocznikow was suffering from breast cancer, to which she would succumb the following year at age 47, the work is a resin cast of her only child’s nude adolescent body. Formed in a vertiginous pitch, the sculpture cannot stand on its own and must be supported by a Plexiglas brace in order to be displayed. The emptiness of the space behind Piotr suggests a void, like a pieta with the mother figure subtracted, the son left dangling in space.