Together with Natalia LL and Ewa Partum, Teresa Murak (*1949, Poland) was one of the leading performance and body artists in Poland in the 1970s. At the beginning of the 1970s, Teresa Murak discovered the natural material that was to become central to her artistic practice: plant seeds. After martial law was declared in Poland in the 1980s, she was forced to take her activities to the artistic underground. During this time Murak turned from seed actions and began working with dirt and mud as a means of expression in her art.
For the sculpture River Mud, Murak extracted river mud and grass from their natural environment in an outwardly ritualistic action. She then spread the organic material on large surfaces in a gallery, where it dried and eventually died. Murak bases her so-called earth sculptures on a contradictory aesthetic relationship between organic and distinct abstract forms. Murak’s poetic imagery in her performances and installation works, located either indoors or in rural or urban exterior spaces, makes visible the principles of life, growth and decay inherent in her art material in a more compact form. Her use of organic materials reflects the ephemeral nature of these actions.
Performance: 1989, Muzeum Ziemi Chełmskiej
Video: Wojciech Majewski
Courtesy Teresa Murak & Galeria Labirynt, Lublin