Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Mahn‑ und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück

Blossoming Breast of the Earth (Birth of the Earth) – Rozkwitająca pierś Ziemi (Narodziny Ziemi)

1991, Glazed ceramic, 2 parts, 45 x 55 x 115 cm; 49 x 65 x 117 cm

Urszula Sadkowska-Petryszyn, granddaughter of the artist, wrote in her final dissertation for her Polish Studies degree: ‘In the sculpture The Blossoming Breast of the Earth, the boundaries between the human body and the earth are blurred. The fragment of a smooth female body emerges from the craggy clod of earth: round breasts, a hip and the start of a belly, part of an upper thigh. This is the beauty of a woman’s body, a temple of nascent life, the suffering and pain of this birth, as expressed in the words of the poem “And humanity is fulfilled in blood”. A woman’s breast blossoms, but it is a painful breast, fissured. Her belly is also cracked open. The body has no head—and thus no mental, intellectual sphere—and no arms or legs—and thus no activity, movement, action, independence. What remains is pure physiology: birth, nursing, nourishment, pain. A male torso with a ribcage split open lies next to the female figure. It is hard to shake the feeling that entirely different traces are hidden in these sculptures—the experience of the camp, where the sight of maltreated, fragmented human bodies was common. As a direct witness to so many terrible, unjustified deaths, the artist recalls both life and death in her work. Perhaps the meaning of this sculpture hovers between the figure of a fertile body that grows out of the earth and the figure of a body that is disintegrating, between a man and a woman who grant life, and a man and a woman who are subject to destruction and contribute to it themselves. This interweaving of the material of the human body and the reality that surrounds it can be found in many of the artist’s works. These are the ones that undeniably draw on the subject of death and decay, but also reincarnation and return, by means of the same surrounding reality.’

Urszula Sadkowska-Petryszyn, granddaughter of the artist