Poster “Your Body Is a Battleground” by Barbara Kruger in Poland
Barbara Kruger’s groundbreaking poster from 1989, Your body is a battlefield, has reappeared on the streets of Poland, almost 30 years after it was first plastered on the walls of an entire Eastern European country. Reason? The graphic hits the heart of the ongoing protest movement that erupted after the Constitutional Court promised to further tighten Poland’s restrictive abortion laws.
Kruger’s famous text-based artwork has appeared in museums, graced skateboards, subway cards, and magazine covers – even “influenced” Supreme. But it’s her Your body is a battlefield a work that is perhaps the most recognizable and echoes around the world.
Kruger originally designed the poster—featuring a photograph of a woman’s face, half-printed in negative, with the working title printed in her signature red-and-white diagonal Futura font—for the 1989 Women’s March in Washington. The protest was organized to uphold the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion in the United States.
Two years later, in 1991, when women’s rights in Poland eroded, Kruger’s work was translated into Polish and 500 posters were distributed throughout Warsaw. According reportsthe posters were quickly torn down or covered up, but six months later a Polish feminist group agreed to redistribute the posters, “pasting the works in hard-to-reach places and ensuring that the image becomes part of Polish history.”
Over the past two weeks, as hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators continue to take to the streets to oppose the court’s decision to restrict access to abortion and organ autonomy, more than 100 posters have been hung on the streets of Szczecin. It is part of a partnership between Kruger and the TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art.
Speaking about the situation and her involvement in the project, Kruger said: “Urgent and courageous protests by marginalized, disempowered and newly empowered bodies are a persistent threat to the dominant and extremist choreographies of religion, power and politics in Poland. The church’s brazen hypocrisy and its predictable pounding of fists against the political right create a grotesque dance of masculine bonding and determined abuse of power.”
Find a list of pro-choice organizations you can support in Poland in the IG caption below: