Lady Macbeth

Justyna Kabala (1984 - )



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  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall
    A woman wears a paper crown, her face shrouded in shadow with words overlaid onto it, standing within a dramatic dark background, as if on a stage. The text is an excerpt from Act 1, Scene 5 of William Shakespeare’s famous ‘Scottish play’, the tragedy, Macbeth. On discovering that she has an opportunity to murder King Duncan of Scotland, and gain power for her husband, Lady Macbeth reveals her cruel ambition in a speech that would have shocked Shakespeare’s audiences.
    Exchanging ‘remorse’ for ‘direst cruelty’ and casting off her otherwise feminine side (‘unsex me’), Lady Macbeth summons the powers of evil to give her the strength to murder Duncan.In her representation of this scene, the artist Justyn Kabala contrasts the violence of the words with more subtle glimpses of femininity, clothing her figure in a lace-trimmed dress, in addition to a sense of child-like innocence conveyed by the paper crown. Such a contrast makes this image a striking re-interpretation of a famous literary moment.

    Commenting on her approach to painting and printmaking, Kabala has said:What often appears to be of most interest to me are backgrounds, fragments of textiles and textures of objects. Having undergone deconstruction, they make space for constructing new metaphors and narrations.Lady Macbeth is one of 34 prints in Folio, a portfolio produced by the Royal College of Art (RCA) in 2011. The set was published as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 50th birthday that year.
  • About the artist
    Justyna Kabala is a Polish artist who lives and works in London. She holds a Masters of Fine Art degree from the Royal College of Art (2011). She has exhibited since 2007 including at Lítost Gallery, Prague (2018); Mostyn Art Gallery, Llandudno (2015) and ICA, London (2012). She co-curated the exhibition programme at Copenhagen Place, an artist-run space in London between 2010 and 2012. Kabala has been a lecturer at London College of Communication, UAL since 2018, and previously taught at the University for the Creative Arts, Epsom.
  • Explore
    Materials & Techniques
    lithograph, photolithograph
  • Details
    Lady Macbeth
    Portfolio Title
    height: 61 cm, width: 48 cm
    Presented by the Royal College of Art, March 2016
    verso bl: "Lady Macbeth" ; verso bc: 29/60 ; verso br: Justyna K. Kabala
    Royal College of Art; presented to GAC March 2016
    GAC number