Artist:
Goshka Macuga (born 1967 in Poland; lives and works in London, England).

Description:
“Working with an architect and an engineer, Macuga built a small-scale structure inspired by the Oscar Niemeyer-designed pavilion that housed part of the biennial—a ‘condensed’ version, as she puts it. An elevated walkway led to a platform that afforded a commanding view of the pavilion; descent via a spiral staircase led to a ‘research room’ containing secondhand books, antiques, and framed prints. Macuga had purchased the items in Brazil, and all of them related to the country’s colonial past, religious history, folk heroes, zoology, or art and design. She also planted a flower bed at the base of the structure with an herb locally believed to ward off evil spirits—a patch of greenery that was regularly raided by Brazilian biennial participants anxious about the success of their own projects. ‘Mula sem Cabeca,’ in short, embodied the tension between Brazilian modernism and the country’s enduring spiritual beliefs. This seemingly paradoxical coexistence of modernism with the metaphysical, and of ideas of progress with the archaic, is of particular interest to Macuga. She notes a similar condition in postcommunist Poland, where the move to capitalism has seen a rising interest in mysticism. ‘As the political structure has changed and the culture has grown more materialistic,’ Macuga theorizes, ‘people look for alternatives’.”
—Michael Wilson, “Michael Wilson on Goshka Macuga,” Artforum 45, no. 8 (April 2007).

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