Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite
About This Artwork
Born in postwar Poland, Goshka Macuga is uniquely positioned to examine communism, which she does by evading and complicating hierarchies of communist histories. Macuga mines archival material, assembling seemingly disparate images in order to create new narratives in her work. Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite is a tapestry of Karl Marx’s grave collaged with voyeuristic images of women from twentieth-century Czech artist Miroslav Tichý. With this provocative juxtaposition, Macuga turns the photographs on their heads, moving the women from passive objects of Tichý’s gaze to active — albeit fictional — political participants of a history that excluded them. In its title, the work takes the famous communist rallying cry engraved on Marx’s tombstone, “workers of all lands unite” and replaces the word “workers” with “women.” In this exchange, Macuga shifts the slogan from a communist call to action to end class struggle to a feminist one calling for the end of sexist oppression.