Wednesday, 29 May 2013


In the late Communist period artist Zbigniew Libera was imprisoned for drawing cartoons the regime judged "pornographic" (and probably queer).

Somebody Else, 1988, Autoportrait

But once the system collapsed, his divisive creativity was in no way halted: His creepy Lego concentration camp (1996) made him notorious overnight and sent childhood shivers down my spine when I stumbled upon it in Warsaw's National Museum.

Lego Concentration Camp, 1996, Set of 7 different boxes

Asked about the work, he declared: "I am from Poland; I've been poisoned." True? Libera's other work shows the artist as an iconoclast of almost everything who exists through dark parody. And maybe there is something idiosyncratically Polish about his defiance, the mistrust of authorities.

Body image: Ken's Aunt (1994)

From the cycle Positives, 2002-2003

Calculation or artistic cojones? In any case an artist who isn't scared to rattle the cage, whatever the regime. 

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