“I see my work as a communication of cultures, especially cultures that are connected to forgotten things.” The Polish artist Paolina Olowska (1976) defines research based on nostalgia as a form of introspection that is primarily linked to women’s world and the history of her country. This is the key to understanding one of the most interesting proposals of Artissima 2023 Art Week: visual persuasion, the exhibition project that Olowska created for the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, coordinated by Irene Calderoni and open until March 3, 2024. Not an exhibition, but a real redefinition of the exhibition space, protagonist of an immersive narrative that connects the artist’s works with the Permanent Collection of the Foundation and with works by other artists that Paolina includes in a surprising and sophisticated narrative action. “Visual Persuasion is a diverse, polyphonic and immersive space created by Olowska to redefine the dynamics of desire and eroticism from a female perspective“: This is how the foundation presents the project, inspired by the volume of the American advertiser Stephen Baker – published in 1961 – which analyzes the effect of visual communication on people’s subconscious.
Paulina Olowska’s exhibition at the Sandretto Foundation
The artist structured the path, creating dialogues and associations between the works to give life to micronarratives, linked through visual and conceptual references and structured thanks to her experience as a curator. The pole around which the story revolves is the woman, understood in her multilayered and complex dimension, suspended between the desiring subject and the object of desire, on a kaleidoscopic path interwoven with allusions that reflect the temporality of the night city , an ideal stage for dark visions and fetish, porn and fashion, vintage and cult. A tour that begins with a large installation of neon signs collected among those present in the city of Warsaw in the 1970s, illuminating the corridor connecting the two main rooms of the Foundation. In the first part, Paolina focused on imagery connected to the body, with dialogues with works by artists such as Barbara KrugerSherrie Levine, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Cindy Sherman or Sarah Lucas, combined with a series of erotic drawings by Maya Berezowska, a Polish history painter rediscovered by Olowska. The second environment was divided into three very long corridors that were used as video rooms and were in dialogue with “domestic” installations Thomas Hirschhorn, Sylvie Fleury And Dominique Gonzalez Foersterto breathe life into an urban and at the same time homely space. However, the tour is not limited to the exhibition spaces, but also includes the restaurant, the cafeteria and the bookstore area, where a series of paintings on transparent fabric dialogue with videos, sculptures and photographs by other artists, as well as the entrance hall, occupied by two Sculptures by Simon Starling and Richard Wentworth.
The gender debate in Olowska’s exhibition
“I am very pleased that today there is a much clearer connection to history and gender specificity“, explains Olowska, “and an openness to non-academic art forms. Self-taught and irregular artists are attracting more and more attention, and this fact gives me great joy“.
Thanks to this freedom and the availability of the Sandretto Foundation, Olowska was protagonist of the largest exhibition ever dedicated to the artist by an Italian institution, thus confirming an undisputed museum quality based on practices based on vision, courage and great respect Artists: an exhibition not to be missed.