Maria Pinińska-Bereś

Maria Pinińska-Bereś was born in 1931. Between 1950 and 1956 studied Sculpture at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, at Xawery Dunikowski’s Studio. A member of the Grupa Krakowska since 1979. In 1983 participated in the 17th International Biennale in Sao Paulo.

Initial figurative works were largely influenced by Professor Dunikowski, but some signs of the artist’s individual style could also be observed back then. The Birth sculpture from 1958 was the first one to feature pink color which was so characteristic of later works of the artist.

In the early nineteen sixties, Pinińska-Bereś started leaning toward more abstract forms. The Rotunda cycle includes heavy concrete figures referring to Roman architecture but placed on soft based made of fabrics, which were soon to become one of the key materials used by the sculptor.

At the same time, Lady with a Bird coming from 1960 fully reveals the artist’s interest in the female figure as the main topic of her works. In spite of the fact that Pinińska-Bereś kept her distance from feminist art, she is considered one of the key precursors and representatives of this trend in Poland. Between 1966 and 1967 the artist used paper-mâché to prepare Corsets referring to the image of a woman reflecting male desires

The Psycho-furniture cycle, which the artist started creating in 1968, is the criticism of women’s social roles, treated with a great deal of irony, but at the same with loads of tenderness, but also a hint of eroticism.

Around mid-nineteen seventies Pinińska-Bereś focused on soft, oval, and delicate forms which were so very characteristic of her output at later stages. She used a sponge trimmed with a fabric, quilted materials, cushions, the ‘feminine’ delicacy of which was stressed by pink and white coloring.

They are complemented with poetic titles that make an integral part of each sculpture, e.g. A Cruise Across the Seas and Oceans Around the Table, Leda’s Toilet, Smudged with the Sky, Transition through the Duvet.

In 1971 the artist commenced another cycle entitled Egzystencjaria, which was a very personal comment on love and motherhood, but also aggression. Starting from the mid-nineteen eighties Pinińska-Bereś also engaged in a very original dialogue with the history of art. She created works inspired by such masterpieces as King and Queen by Henry Moore, The Burning Giraffe by Salvador Dali, or The Infantas by Velazquez.

Along with her assemblage sculptures, she also organized small-scale outdoor performances (Kite letter, Author’s Banner) and gallery events (Laundry I, Nothing but the Broom, A woman with a Ladder, Activities for Kitchen Utensils).

The artist died during the preparation for her retrospective exhibition in 1999 (GSW Bunkier Sztuki in Kraków, Galeria Bielska in Bielsko-Biała, Galeria Miejska Arsenał in Poznań).

Pinińska-Bereś’s works are in the collection of National Museums in Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Warsaw, the Silesian Museum in Katowice, Art Museum in Łódź, Zachęta in Warsaw, Polish Sculpture Centre in Orońsko, Bochum Museum, and are owned by private art collectors. Two works by Maria Pinińska-Bereś were included in The World Goes Pop exhibition in Tate Modern in London (2015/2016).