POLAND: Agnieszka Taborska
Agnieszka Taborska (b. 1961) is reimagining the surreal for the postmodern era. A lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design since 1989, her main areas of interest are the image of women in fin de siècle Western art and literature, French Surrealism, the significance of women in the movement and the impact Surrealism has on contemporary art. Her contemporary experiments in surrealism with American collage artist Selena Kimball, The Dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz (tr. Danusia Stok, Midmarch Arts Press, 2007) and The Unfinished Life of Phoebe Hicks (tr. Ursula Phillips) join image and text in parallel narratives. She has taught at the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art, Pont-Aven, France (1996-2004). She has curated exhibitions of Surrealist art in France and Poland and written scripts for documentary films related to Surrealism. She is the author of 11 books published in Poland, US, France, Germany, Japan and Korea. Her works of fiction have received literary prizes in Germany and have been adapted for stage and brought to screen in form of award-winning animated films at International Film Festivals. Excerpts from, The Unfinished Life of Phoebe Hicks, have been published in The Saint Ann’s Review (Fall 2009, Fall 2010). Her books include Conspirators of Imagination. Surrealism (collection of essays published in Poland), The Whale, or Objective Chance (collection of short stories published in Poland), and The Dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz (published in Poland, France and the US).
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Collage artist Selena Kimball is a native of Maine, and she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her work begins with archival documents (illustrated histories, genealogies) and develops into imagined reckonings with the history they represent. History, from Herodotus onwards, has been part fact, part fiction. She mines historical materials for the stories that exist there: narratives of partially told or lost social histories.
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Photo © Helena Giersz.
Niedokończone życie Phoebe Hicks
The Unfinished Life of Phoebe Hicks
by Agnieszka Taborska
Illustrations by Selena Kimball
Translated by Ursula Phillips
słowo/obraz terytoria, 2013
Taborska and Kimball’s fictional heroines are clairvoyant women whose internal visions are projected externally through art and are conditioned by the scientific contexts of their eras. Leonora de la Cruz of their previous collaboration, The Dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz (Midmarch Arts Press, 2010) is an eighteenth-century Carmelite nun caught in a thirty-year dream state, who becomes the patron saint of Surrealism. Phoebe Hicks is a mid-nineteenth century, Providence, Rhode Island woman who gains access to the spiritual plane after surviving a particularly violent bout of poisoning from clam fritters. An early photographer surruptitiously captures her image through a window as she seemingly lay dying, and by virtue of the new positive-negative Talbotype process, the photograph is disseminated widely, bringing her fame as a spirit medium who has returned from the land of the dead. What follows is a series of accounts of her séances, visions, her duel with Houdini, and her biography taking the parallel forms of a historical essay by Taborska and a series of collages by Selena Kimball.
About the translator
Ursula Phillips lives and works in London, and is a scholar and translator of literature by Polish women authors. She has recently published translations of Maria (Czartoryska) Wirtemberska’s Malwina, or the Heart's Intuition (Northern Illinois University Pr., 2012), the first widely recognized novel by a Polish woman, and Narycza Żmichowska's The Heathern (Northern Illinois University Pr., 2012). With Polish scholar Grażyna Borkowska she has published Alienated Women: A Study on Polish Women's Fiction 1845-1918 (Central European U. Pr., 2001) and with Borkowska and Małgorzata Czermińska, Pisarki polskie od średniowiecza do współczesności : przewodnik (Polish Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present: A Guidebook, słowo/obraz terytoria, 2000).