Magda Matwiejew – Biography

Magda Matwiejew’s work explores the iconographic image of the female form through art historical references and surreal imagery. Her photographs, videos, digital projections and animations have connotations of fetish, bondage, and sadomasochism, exploring human relationships and power.[i]


Described as sinister, voyeuristic, cloying, and sadistic yet delicate and feminine, Matwiejew’s recurring imagery speaks to her preoccupation with Western historical representations of female beauty, and the pain that accompanies it.[ii] Her works deal with notions of femme fatale sexuality, death, beauty, temptation, voyeurism and the implication of the male gaze in fin-de-siècle culture.[iii]


“There has always been a cultural look imposed upon women, in particular, and it’s often been deforming,”[iv] states the artist. Matwiejew presents women as evil: powerful seductresses, delicately balancing reverence and aggression towards women through vamp imagery and feminine colour palettes. Each of her works offers a narrative journey through which Matwiejew explores an everlasting battle of the sexes.


Magda Matwiejew was born in Wagen, Germany in 1956 and moved to Australia in 1958. She currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Matwiejew holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from RMIT, Melbourne (1977).


Matwiejew has participated in many solo and group exhibitions including: Venice International Video Art, Experimental Dance and Performance Festival, Venice, Italy (2014); Vavara Beyond Memory, Installation at Geelong Art Gallery, Geelong (2009). Matwiejew’s work is held in several significant collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, The Australian War Memorial, Canberra and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane.



[i] Watts, Rachel. “Magda Matwiejew: Morphette.” Karen Woodbury Gallery, May 2013.

[ii] Crawford, Ashely. “En Point: Magda Matwiejew.” Artlink, 30, 2010, URL:

[iii] Watts, Rachel. “Magda Matwiejew: Morphette.” Karen Woodbury Gallery, May 2013.

[iv] Stevens, Annie. “Labouring the pointe.” The Sydney Morning Herald, July 30, 2010, URL:


Full CV