Agnieszka Nienartowicz

Agnieszka Nienartowicz was born in 1991 in Jelenia Góra, a small town surrounded by mountains in Lower Silesia, Poland. Nienartowicz studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Poland. Afterwards, she moved to Gdańsk to continue her painting studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, where in 2016 she received a Master of Fine Arts. Poised against dark, slightly illuminated backgrounds, the impeccably dressed women in Agnieszka Nienartowicz’s paintings are rendered in a style evocative of traditional historical European portraits. However, turning the women backwards and hiding their faces in the shadows, Nienartowicz places tattoos with religious motifs on their bare backs.In the 19th century, tattooing their bodies by women was seen as an act of emancipation, “throwing off the corset.”


Today they have entered the mainstream and constitute a kind of diary - images, symbols, signs are usually carefully selected by the wearers. Following the theory of empiricism, according to which, on the day of birth, everyone is a tabula rasa - a blank blackboard, each event leaves a mark. Systems of religious beliefs, doctrines and rituals leave exceptionally deep and indelible traces. By making themselves infallible, they frame themselves firmly and indisputably. Religious belief systems are incapacitating: they leave marks and scars.


The women in the Nienartowicz’s paintings do not show their faces - they are anonymous, their identity is “unworthy of attention.” Instead, the objects of interest are their bodies. And so, the tattoo as a symbol of release from the corset yoke, eventually becomes a corset itself. Nienartowicz has been featured in exhibitions at galleries and museums in Europe and the US. Her work resides in the collections of the National Museum in Gdańsk, The Bennett Collection, Hilton group and in various private collections worldwide.


Nienartowicz currently lives and works in Cracow, Poland.