Beginning 30 September, Hauser & Wirth will debut ‘Erna Rosenstein: Once Upon a Time,’ the first monographic exhibition outside of Poland devoted to Erna Rosenstein (1913 – 2004). One of the key figures of the Polish avant-garde, Rosenstein’s wartime survival, commitment to Surrealism, and lifelong adherence to leftist ideologies course through a remarkable array of paintings, drawings, and assemblage sculptures, as well as poems, diaristic writings, and deceptively whimsical children’s stories. Steeped in an extraordinary history and responding to the Nazi occupation of Poland, personal traumas suffered in the Holocaust, the postwar sociopolitical upheaval of her native country, and passionate engagement in the intellectual circles of her times, Erna Rosenstein’s work defies simple classification. Her six-decades long career was fueled by the formation of prewar artistic, intellectual, and political affiliations, and is expressed through her continued oscillation between autobiographical figuration and biomorphic abstraction. Grappling with themes of memory, trauma, longing, and loss, she used paint, ink, and found materials to suggest a world tinged with allegory, enchantment, and fairy tale.
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