Ewa Partum was born in 1945 in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, near Warsaw, Poland. She studied at the State College of Fine Arts in Łódź, Poland from 1963 to 1965. 1965-1970 followed studies in painting at the Academy of Arts in Warsaw, where she graduated in 1970. From 1971 to 1977 Partum worked as an organizer and curator of the influential Mail Art "Adres Gallery" in Łódź. She has participated internationally in numerous group exhibitions and film festivals, including Prospectiva 74 in São Paulo, Brazil in 1974; the Mail Art '75 exhibition in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1975; the Zacheta National Art Gallery in Warsaw, Poland in 1991; Manifesta 7, South Tyrol and Trentino, Italy in 2008; Frac Lorraine in Metz, France in 2013; and Museum of Modern Art (MoCA), Los Angeles, USA in 2007. In 2006 the Wyspa Institute of Art dedicated a retrospective to her. Ewa Partum lives and works in Berlin.
In the 1960s, Ewa Partum turned away from painting and made her own body part of the feminist discourse. Beginning in 1969, she became the first Polish artist to repeatedly appear nude in performances as a sign of women's equality in art. In doing so, she turned against critics who focused one-sidedly on her nudity rather than on the message of her art. In her early conceptual works of "Active Poetry," she combined performances with poetic texts, whose oversized letters she cut out individually, scattered in private spaces, and carried into public spaces as political statements, where, driven by wind and weather, a new, random art language emerged. In the 1960s and 1970s, Partum's work was often affected by Polish censorship, which banned the distribution of her publications. In the 1970s, she worked for the "Adres Gallery" (Łódź, 86 Piotrowska Street), which existed at the headquarters of the Association of Polish Art Photographers (ZPAF) since 1972. For Partum, the Adres Gallery became a field of experimentation in a confined space, where she promoted Mail Art, which allowed the exchange of ideas between artists beyond institutional structures, and where she exhibited Fluxus art, among others. She also works with film. Partum's films are more than documentations of her poetic and performative work. She explores the medium in reference to the structural cinema of the 1960s. Since 1971 she has been creating forms of conceptual poetry "Poems By Ewa" with objects that she kisses with her lips. Her themes are feminist questions about female identity and subjectivity, women's equality, the concept of public and political space, and institutional critique.read more read less