Polish Holocaust survivor Alina Szapocznikow let her art do the talking. But in a letter to her first husband she shed light on her suffering during the war and its centrality in her work. “[In] the process of your formation in the last 10 years you have not gone through that baptism of despair,” she writes, “everything didn’t end for you irretrievably several times as it did for me in the ghettos and the camps.” After the war, Szapocznikow became focused on the unique experiences of women, specifically the impermanence of youth, beauty, and the body. She created casts and sculptures of body parts, a fragmentation that conveys both trauma and the passage of time—to which no one is immune. —J.V.
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