Ewa Ciepielewska is a painter, performer, activist, altruist and nature lover. She was born in 1960 in Wałbrzych; She is a graduate of The Painting Department and The Visual Art Department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. She graduated under the supervision of prof. Konrad Jorodzki. In 1982 she was one of the founders of the legendary Luxus Group – one of the most impactful artistic groups of the 1980s in Poland. In 1997 she founded the Volans association supporting young artists. For over 15 years, she has been floating on the Vistula river on a wooden scow ‘Solny’, initiating activities to preserve the river in its natural form. The result of those activities was an ongoing project Flow initiated in 2015. It is an art residency on water, existing outside the institutional circuit for artists, activists and amateurs. Ciepielewska showed her works as part of individual and collective exhibitions, incl. Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, Strykejernet in Oslo, John Hausard Gallery in Southampton. Her works are in private and public collections, including the Museum Jerke in Recklinghausen, the Contemporary Museum in Wrocław and the National Museum in Kraków.
Her main interests revolve around social and community situations and looking for non-institutional forms of being together in the face of social and ecological crises. In the 1980s, she participated in movements related to the New Age, esotericism and anthroposophy. In the 1990s, on the other hand, she was fascinated by rave culture, which resulted in a series of outdoor performative activities. She was a precursor of culinary performances and environmental movements in art in Poland. In 2020 she received a prestigious Katarzyna Kobro Prize for her artistic practice and activism. Recently, she has been awarded with the Allegro Prize.
She likes to cook macrobiotic, natural organic food. If she could, she would spend the whole year on the water and in nature. She believes she is one of many witches.
FLOW/PRZEPŁYW is an artistic residency programme, the project initiated by Ewa Ciepielewska and Agnieszka Brzeżańska in collaboration with Kola Sliwinska. Since 2015 it has been an ongoing initiative.Ewa Ciepielewska is a proponent of repositioning and redefining the role of the artists in a wider social context as a part of radical social experiments. Along with Agnieszka Brzeżańska and Kola Śliwińska, she has been producing Flow/Przepływ, an ongoing, boat-based international summer art residency programme. It is an attempt to develop an ecological therapy for creative minds that are polluted by the chaos of the info-sphere and driven by the pressures of individual productivity. It is a temporary art community activated on the river and the residency’s programme revolves around the fluvial ecosystem. Artists experiment with and expand the borders of aesthetics in the context of the three ecologies of Felix Guattari, connecting singular subjectivities, social relations and the natural environment. The river appears as the starting point, mediator and as an inspiration for trans- disciplinary activities (such as visual and literary workshops, ethnobotanical and culinary happenings, and performances).
The project was created for international artists, curators and social workers to participate in group workshops on the wooden scow on the Vistula River each year. Flow/Przepływ is an attempt to refresh the concept of art by removing the idea of preconceived results and the need to produce objects; a method that seeks to preserve and protect cultural and natural heritage. This socially engaged project connects diverse communities through the idea of intellectual, social and artistic exchange. It encourages a non- judgemental response to contemporary lifestyle and social existence: its problems, gender and social inequalities, whereby artists can react and contribute potential solutions. This project is generously supported by Razem Pamoja Foundation and was presented in the form of a group exhibition How to talk with birds, trees, fish, shells, snakes, lions and bulls in Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin in 2018/19 (curated by Antje Majewski).
As part of her practice influenced by the esoteric New Age movement, Ciepielewska started creating watercolours based on the Chinese Zodiac Calendar. Since the early 1990s, she has been working on the series and created hundreds of drawings, graphics and watercolours depicting 12 animals that personify the years in the Chinese Zodiac.