Izabela Gustowska was born in Poznań, where she currently lives and works. She is a professor at the Artistic University in Poznań in the Department of Multimedia Communication, FIntermedia Faculty, where she heads the Film and Performance Activities Studio. She also teaches Graphics of Drawing Studio at Collegium Da Vinci.
Her work includes various media: painting objects, graphic, photography, installations, video, video performance, film.
Her important early experiences include ephemeral activities within open spaces carried out as part of Grupa Od Nowa (1970-1980) with Bogumił Kaczmarek, Wiesław Krzyżaniak, Wojciech Muller, composer Lidia Zielińska and Nurt Student Pantomime Theatre.
She perceives heading ON Gallery over the period 1979-1992 (1979-1983 together with Krystyna Piotrowska) as an interesting experiment. Especially valuable memories include the first exhibitions Sztuka Kobieta 1980, Obecność I – 1987, Obecność III 1992, as well as curatorial projects Drobne Narracje 1994 (with Grzegorz Dziamski), Art Poznań 2005, Urban Legend (2009) with Paweł Leszkowicz and Raman Tratsiuk.
Art historian Paweł Leszkowicz believes that Gustowska laid the foundation for contemporary feminist art history in Poland. He also thinks that the artists’ own technique based on sculptural materialisation of photography and painting, used in her cycles Względne Cechy Podobieństwa (Relative Similarities), Sny w obiektach uwolnionych z geometrycznych ram (Dreams in objects freed from geometrical frames), gave those works a more „physical shape”.
At the age of 28 she received Grand Prix at the Festival of Polish Contemporary Painting in Szczecin in 1976. 36 years later she received Birgit Skiold Memorial Prize for innovativeness in graphics. Other laureates included Max Bill, David Hockney, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Henry Moore, George Baselitz.
In 1989 she worked on large format works Secret I, II, III in the graphic studios at Albert’s University in Edmonton. She recalls this as an interesting experiment.
Among important artistic experiences she enlists participating in the following exhibitions: 17a, 19a Bienal Internacional de Sao Paulo – 1983 and 1987, Expressiv – Central Art. since 1960 – Museum Moderner Kunst – Vienna – 1987, Hirshhorn Museum Washington DC – 1988, XLIII Espositzione Internazionale d’Arte – La Biennale di Venezia Architectures of Gender Contemporary Women’s Art in Poland – Sculpture Center NY – 2003, Gender Check-Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig – Vienna – 2009.
From among solo exhibitions she perceives the following as breakthrough: her first video performance Porter wielokrotny (Multiple portrait) in Akumulatory gallery in Poznań in 1985, Izabela Gustowska – Przypadek Edwarda H., Przypadek Izy G. (The case of Edward H., The case of Iza G.) – Arsenał gallery, Elektrownia – Białystok, curated by Monika Szewczyk, Izabella Gustowska – Nowy Jork i dziewczyna (New York and a girl) – with the participation of Aneta Grzeszykowska, Ada Karczmarczyk, Eva Rubinstein – Galeria Art Stations – Poznań, curated by Agata Jakubowska.
She is happy that her works are present in important museum in Poland and abroad: collection of works in National Museum in Wrocław, graphic works in MOMA in New York.