Paulina Olowska - Her Hauntology
30. April – 16. October 2022 kl. 10.00–17.00
Kistefos is delighted to present Her Hauntology the first major exhibition in Scandinavia of Paulina Olowska (b. 1976, Gdansk, Poland) whose exhaustive practice includes painting, sculpture, installation, and performance.
The exhibition will comprise of both earlier and recent works, including key works from Christen Sveaas Art Collection and Christen Sveaas Art Foundation, displaying the artists broad and multi-disciplinary practice the curation transitions from a more traditional salon-hang display of paintings in the Closed Gallery to a playful installation-based presentation in the Panorama gallery.
Within Paulina Olowska’s work, industry, leisure, and socialist symbolism occupy the same visual and cultural space. Her realist paintings, drawings, and collages borrow imagery from Eastern European and American popular culture creating a cross-cultural reference whilst engaging with the concepts of consumerism, feminism, and design. The selection of works in this exhibition explore the female gaze and the concept Hauntology—a range of ideas referring to the recurrence of elements from the social or cultural past— set within a feminist context.
This selection of works in this ambitious exhibition is directly inspired by visits to The Twist at Kistefos and its inextricable relationship between interior, exterior and nature. Key themes look at the artists’ own fertile exploration into Slavicness, the female gaze, what it means for women to gather and Olowska’s enduring position of reinterpreting modernism. In over 30 paintings, spanning a period of 12 years, compositions are embedded with layered references and forgotten figures from overlooked histories, borrowed imagery courageously reappropriated with a masterful painterly stroke, understanding of colour and a strong reference to the importance of fashion.
As the viewer moves through the gallery spaces they will be followed perhaps even haunted by the many female gazes that stare down from the walls, into the far distance or straight ahead, all proudly owning and reasserting their own female histories. In Paulina Olowska’s Her Hauntology, the artist readdresses the balance of history and offers an optimistic interpretation of Hauntology and the future. Bold, proud and, knowing, the figures that punctuate the walls are female spectres from the past with re-imagined futures.
In addition to showing over 30 paintings, on loan from institutions and private collections worldwide, Olowska was commissioned to create a site-specific performance that will appear as a series of film works within the exhibition. Inspired by the untamed natural surroundings of The Twist and the artists own place of residence in the Polish countryside outside of Krakov, the five channel video installation Squelchy Garden Mules and Mamunas, depicts earthly creatures invading the spaces inside and outside of The Twist – nesting in the hollows of the trees, traversing the forest and fauna. These characters, emerging like spectres of Paulina Olowska’s clear vision defy definition—vaguely reminiscent of CS Lewisian fauns, and neoclassical nymphs yet here we find something earthier, more primal – born of humans innate need to connect with nature.
Paulina Olowska was born in 1976 in Gdansk, Poland, and lives and works in Rabka Zdroj and Krakow, Poland. She has had one-person exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw. Olowska received the prestigious Aachen Art Prize in 2014, with an associated exhibition at the Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany. She has also staged performances at Tate Modern, the Carnegie International, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Olowska presented the ballet “Slavic Goddesses — A Wreath of Ceremonies” at the Kitchen, New York, in 2017 and "Slavic Goddesses and The Ushers” at the Museo del Novecento in Milan in 2018. Her work was featured in the 2017 National Gallery of Victoria Triennial in Melbourne and the 2018 Liverpool Biennial, as well as in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; mumok, Vienna; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Migros Museum Für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich; and the New Museum, New York.
As part of a series of exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery, London the Christen Sveaas Collection has invited selected artists to curate exhibitions with works selected from the Christen Sveaas Art Collection and Christen Sveaas Art Foundation. Paulina Olowska has curated the current exhibition where she reveals the true nature of a gallery as a travel bureau, where works of art are portals into a myriad destinations imagined by artists. Her installation of works is inspired by Orbis, the largest and longest running travel agency in Poland. Founded in 1920, its offices, staff and famously alluring posters offered prospective travellers a dream of escape. Olowska thinks of painting as ‘a beautiful metaphor for travel itself, a longing for a place.’ The exhibition runs at Whitechapel until 8th May.