Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Mahn‑ und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück

Zofia Pociłowska-Kann. Sculptures

Earthy, fractured, fissured—these words could describe the exhibited ceramics by the Polish artist Zofia Pociłowska-Kann. Most of them were created in the 1970s, the decade when Pociłowska used ceramic as her main artistic material, after having first experimented with stone and concrete (Pietà).Ceramic materials are traditionally used for smaller works and objects of art, but Pociłowska transformed them into large-scale pieces, something that was unique in post-war sculpture in the Polish People’s Republic. Starting with a figurative form, the material then seems to take shape in its own way. This is especially apparent in works such as Breast of the Earth and Faces from the Past. Elsewhere, the artist tends towards an abstraction that is always motivated by the subject matter itself, as can be seen in the design of the Pietà.

The monuments she designed more strongly reflect the popular stylistic idiom of their time. One of Pociłowska’s first commissioned works was the Obelisk in Memory of the Victims of Pawiak Prison in Warsaw. Other monuments can be found in Magdalenka near Warsaw, in Włodawa and in Inowrocław. As an artist, Pociłowska has a permanent presence in Ravensbrück through two of her works: Pietà and another untitled piece (Hands), which were commissioned for the Polish memorial room in the cell building. With these artworks, the sculptor memorialized a group of prisoners to whom she herself belonged for many years. During her time in the camp she also carved miniatures, some of which are now in the collection of the Ravensbrück Memorial.

Most of these works are being exhibited in Germany for the first time. The exhibition is the culmination of a seminar that was held in the winter semester of 2019/2020 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in cooperation with the Ravensbrück Memorial. Students from various disciplines engaged intensively with selected works by the sculptor and concentration camp survivor. Their findings have been collected in this brochure. The texts are also available on the Memorial’s website.

                                                                                                                                       Constance Krüger