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Barbara Kruger, “Untitled (Your body is a battlefield)” Poli
Barbara Kruger, “Untitled (Your body is a battlefield)” Polish version (1991/2020), Poster 76 x 55 cmCourtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers, Berlin. A work from the collection of the Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art. Photography Andrzej Golc

Barbara Kruger artworks plastered on Polish streets in pro-choice protest

The iconic artwork, ‘Untitled (Your body is a battleground)’, has appeared across the city of Szczecin as a pro-choice statement in the wake of the country’s brutal new abortion laws

In response to Poland’s recent brutal amendments to its abortion laws, 100 reproductions of Barbara Kruger’s iconic 1989 work, “Untitled (Your body is a battleground”, have appeared in Polish streets. Over the past fortnight, the TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art has fly-postered Kruger’s image throughout the city of Szczecin as a show of resistance to the new legislation, which makes abortion illegal, even in cases of extreme foetal abnormality.

Kruger’s distinctive, graphic art – famous for its use of striking black and white images juxtaposed with bold statements – has long been shaped by the artist’s moral outrage about gender inequality. Despite having been shown in some of the world’s most prestigious galleries and art institutions, her work is arguably at its most powerful when displayed in a public place, where it can ambush the passer-by with its provocative declarations. 

“The urgent and brave protesting of marginalised, disempowered and newly empowered bodies is an insistent threat to the dominant and extremist choreographies of religion, power, and politics in Poland,” she told The Art Newspaper. “The brazen hypocrisy of the church and its predictable fist-bumping with the political right make for a grotesque dance of male bonding and resolute abuse of power.”

It’s not the first time the poster has been displayed in public spaces in Poland. A translation of the now-famous artwork (which was originally made by Krugar in 1989 to support a pro-choice march in Washington) was similarly disseminated throughout Warsaw in 1991 when women’s right’s were yet again threatened. On that particular occasion, the 500 posters were torn down or destroyed within a matter of days. Undeterred, a feminist group undertook the project of re-posting Kruger’s image around the city again, this time making sure they placed them in locations where they’d be difficult to access and deface or remove. Sadly, Kruger’s seminal work is as relevant now as it was back when it was first plastered throughout Warsaw’s urban landscape almost three decades since.

Scroll through the gallery above for images of “Untitled (Your body is a battleground” on the streets of Szczecin.