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Ewa Monika Zebrowski : twombly, italia


Nothing has changed (and) everything has changed.

This has been an incredible journey for me.

Although I began with the intention of taking photographs,

I started to write poetry.

I was so moved by Cy Twombly’s work that I wanted

to have a conversation with him.

He became my muse.

Layer, upon layer,

I began to discover his universe.


twombly , italia is an artist’s book that includes a sequence of 10 poems and 21 photographs, an invocation of the artist, Cy Twombly.

The all white book unfolds to reveal two books, an accordion book of images, and a separate hand stitched pamphlet, a book of poems. The two work in harmony as a narrative. They can be considered separately or together. The images do not illustrate the poems, The writing informs the images and vice versa.

twombly, italia is a non-linear presentation about the ephemeral nature of being, and the desire and longing which inhabits us all, albeit unresolved.


The book appears all white, like a blank canvas, when first opened.

A place of meditation.

An invitation to reflect on the life of an extraordinary artist.

The poems address questions of time and absence, memory and remembrance, fleeting moments of recognition and passage.

The photographs, inspired by Cy Twombly’s polaroids, are visual fragments. They echo his experience of Italy and mine. Images recall the landscape that fueled his life and his artistic production, and that inspired me.


Twombly lived in Italy for 50 years.

Italy fueled his soul.

Cy Twombly died in Rome in 2011.

He left behind an epic legacy, an enormous body of work: paintings, sculptures, and lesser known polaroid photographs. A few years ago I came upon a book of his photographs.

His photographs inspired this work.

Cy Twombly drew inspiration from poetry, mythology and history. He drew inspiration from nature and the beauty that surrounded him, every day.

To encounter the past is to put into question the present. This sense of awe and perplexity at overlaid tenses and times and encountering places only previously known in the imagination…offered for Twombly a palimpsest of past, present and future; layered, intertwined and interpenetrating each other like archaeological strata.

(Nicholas Cullinan, Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons, Tate Modern, London, 2008)






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