About this exhibition
Sophie Podolski’s work is emblematic of a time marked by sexual liberation, antipsychiatry, and disenchantment among youth. In the brief period from 1969 until 1974 – when she took her own life at the age of 21 – she produced a prodigious body of writing and drawings, and one book titled Le pays où tout est permis [The Country Where Everything Is Allowed], 1972.
Two major themes are at the centre of her work: a resistance against conformist society, in the spirit of May 68 and the American Beat poets; and an escapism giving way to fantastical worlds inhabited by “freaks” and hybrid creatures. An autodidact, she drew and wrote in a diaristic and stream-of-consciousness narrative style. Believing that “God is in the speed”, rather than in restraint, she filled the empty spaces of over 200 works on paper, mainly working with ink, occasionally with pastel or coloured pencil, while also creating etchings that are among her earliest works.
During her lifetime, the publication of Le pays où tout est permis garnered her a critical appreciation among literary and artistic circles in Brussels and Paris. While writing and drawing were inextricably intertwined for Podolski, the exhibition at WIELS places an emphasis on her visual practice for the first time, bringing this compelling body of work out of obscurity.
Sophie Podolski was born in Brussels in 1953, where she died in 1974. On the occasion of this exhibition, a book is published by WIELS featuring contributions by Lars Bang Larsen, Jean-Philippe Convert, Caroline Dumalin, Chris Kraus and Erik Thys. Design by Salome Schmuki.
Sophie Podolski: Le pays où tout est permis
20.01 – 01.04.2018
Opening: 19.01.2018, 20:00
Curator: Caroline Dumalin