Book launch: Californication by Magdalena Kita


This was an event to mark the debut of ‘Californication’, the first major book by Magdalena Kita, published by Snoeck Verlag, Cologne. The programme was presented in a ‘talk show’ format, with panel interviews of the book’s contributors and a performance display of Kita’s work.

Participants include contributors Matthew Licht (writer and publisher, Florence, Italy); JL Murtaugh (Californication’s editor/designer, and director of Syndicate, Cologne, Germany); and moderator Marthe Ramm Fortun (artist, Oslo, Norway).

‘Californication’ represents the culmination of Kita’s two-year project conducted in Los Angeles and several other cities, consisting of a large series of painted beach towels, choreographed performances with fitness models, and television advertisements. The book connects these outcomes with ten essays from art critics, professional colleagues, and the artist’s ex-boyfriends, establishing a tone typical for her work which blurs the boundaries between Kita’s personal life, public persona, and the social consequences of sexual politics.

Using her elaborate illustrative style, Kita seeks to put her symbolic parables of gender dynamics into being, reconfiguring history, religion, and politics to propose radical new ways for society to function.

Magdalena Kita (*1983, Poland) lives in Cologne. She recently won the 2016 Van Bommel Van Dam Prize at the eponymous museum in Venlo, Netherlands, and completed a six-month residency in Brussels and Athens developing a new series of Byzantine-style icons. Kita is the resident artist at SUPERDEALS, Brussels this May.




Californication by Magdalena Kita
WIELS Contemporary Art Centre Avenue
Van Volxem 354
1190 Brussels, Belgium

Photos: Marina Pinsky

All towels: Magdalena Kita, Californication, Acrylic on terrycloth, 180 x 90 cm each 2015

Book: Magdalena Kita: Californication, ed. JL Murtaugh with contributions from Noemi Smolik, Gia Edzgveradze, Alex Wissel with Marina Pinsky, Thomas W. Kuhn, Catherine G. Wagley, Elena Malzew, Tytus Klepacz, Matthew Licht, and JL Murtaugh. Cologne: Snoeck, 2016.