Barbara Falender ”Erotic Pillow”, 1974, Carrara marble, 21 x 14 x 17 cm
Delicately veined white marble has been mined in the Carrara quarry for two thousand years. In Barbara Falender’s work from the series Erotic Pillows, it seems to radiate warmth as if still expending the energy of the sun and the organic rock it comes from.
The six Erotic Pillows in the Collection of Galeria Studio were acquired in the 1980s. Together they constitute an exceptional body of work.
In the 1960s, Falender, was a student of the well-known sculptor Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. From the beginning of her career, she was interested in affirmation of the body and erotic pleasure. “It was a search for my own sensuality, my own organicity, it was a sculpting of my own experience,” the artist said in an interview with a critic Wiesława Wierzchowska. This sculpture—as well as other white Carrara marble sculptures from the series—cannot simply be interpreted as a female act. Nor it is a straightforward representation of a woman’s body. It is rather a female act of desire.
Falender’s art has been structured by powerful and autonomous strength, female acts of desire and eroticism, as strong as male desire, however different, and certainly underestimated. And, since male desire has dominated major forms of cultural and artistic expression, the artist’s approach was considered subversive. In the 1970s and 80s, censorship used to interfere with showing or reproducing these works. Today they have not lost anything of their novelty and power.