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Sophie Podolski: Le pays où tout est permis

WIELS presents the first exhibition ever dedicated to the Belgian artist Sophie Podolski. Her work is emblematic of a time marked by sexual liberation, antipsychiatry and youth disenchantment. In the brief period between 1968 and 1974 – when she took her own life at the age of 21 – she produced a remarkable body of graphic works, and one book titled Le pays où tout est permis [The Country Where Everything Is Permitted], 1972. An autodidact savant, she wrote in an uninhibited, provocative and expressive style about life, popular culture and conformist society.

While writing and drawing were inextricably intertwined for Podolski, during her lifetime she was mostly seen as a poet. The exhibition at WIELS places an emphasis on her visual practice and highly personal iconography, bringing this compelling work out of obscurity. The exhibition consists of over 100 works on paper, including those made with ink, pastels or coloured pencil, as well as the etchings that are among her earliest works and the original manuscript of her singular book.

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.

Relevant research areas: Western Europe, 20th Century, Etching

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