Joanna Malinowska says: “This is my Paris Boli. Not a bison. The Boli for Parisian bourgeois, with the dynamite of Pierrot Le Fou. The Boli for the African women in colorful dresses on the metro (what is the color of the sacred?). The Boli of water from the Meret Oppenheim fountain. The Boli of cultural crashes and serendipitous encounters (Matthias Goerne at Cafe Charlot, his autograph in the Boli’s frontal left torso). The Boli of groundlessness. I don’t really believe that my Boli can affect the world, but I would like to give it the benefit of the doubt.”

While a passerby, (art) lover, states: Malinowska’s supranatural Paris Boli is maintaining the equilibrium of the world, because this is what a Boli is supposed to do. In this case, the equilibrium relies on books, on language, knowledge and poetry. What else in France? But it is a very unstable equilibrium: hence the dynamite. We all may blow up in a few seconds anytime. Then the materials we are made of vanish and only the spirit remains: the spirit of Meret Oppenheim, of Matthias Goerne, the spirit of art.

Joanna Malinowska’s Boli sculptures are inspired by her interest in hands – on experiments with various traditions and belief systems – in this particular case the Bamana culture in Mali, that traditionally used to assign the responsibility of maintaining balance in the universe to vaguely animal-like (or occasionally human-form) figurines made out of clay mixed with blood, feces, urine or similar substances. The Boli produced by Malinowska for Unlimited Bodies, as the African Boli, witnesses the duality between body and spirit, vital force and energy. Malinowska re-contextualizes the indigenous tradition, adjusts the scale, recipe and list of ingredients. Her first large Boli piece has found its home at London’s Saatchi Collection (The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture 2010); she also made a small family of Boli using terra-cotta and her own blood. For Unlimited Bodies, she creates a Boli that nourishes itself, among others, through mysterious references to Meret Oppenheim, an artist who already influenced some of her past works. “One of my favorite sculpture materials are cultural clashes” says Malinowska. The whole becomes more than the sum of its parts as in any organized body – and even more so, in an animated body.”

Julie Gil

Group Show
Palais d’Iéna
Place d’Iéna, 9

Paris, until October 24, 2012