Paulina Olowska

Paulina Olowska, Grace, Charles and the Sunflower, 2018. Installation view at Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Thierry Bal

Paulina Olowska, Grace, Charles and the Sunflower (detail), 2018. Photo: Paulina Wlostowska

Paulina Olowska, Grace, Charles and the Sunflower, 2018. Installation view at Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Thierry Bal

Within the practice of Paulina Olowska (b. 1976, Poland) industry, leisure and socialist symbolism effortlessly occupy the same visual and cultural space. Her realist paintings, drawings, ceramics 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.

For Liverpool Biennial 2018, Paulina Olowska has created a new mosaic called Grace, Charles and the Sunflower that references the socialist belief that through the creation of a public work one can influence and present optimistic visions of a better world. The work can be seen on the side of the Invisible Wind Factory, located in Liverpool’s north docks.

The artist’s idea is based on a Polish mosaic from the 1960s situated on the side of a public school in the village of Raba Zdroj, where Olowska lives. Despite its history, the mosaic remains unprotected and unmaintained: this kind of popular, public, post-soviet art is no longer favoured by the Polish government and there is a strong possibility that it will be demolished in the future. By presenting a similar mosaic in Liverpool, Olowska champions the value of these works and suggests that they should be protected as part of the country’s national heritage. The main motif in Olowska’s work is a stylised sunflower that contains at its centre a famous image from 1969 by Norman Parkinson: Vogue America’s Creative Director Grace Coddington powdering the nose of Prince Charles at Windsor Castle. In Olowska’s practice, the fashion world is often used to reference major political events and the permeability of culture and society.

Recent exhibitions include San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA (2016); Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2016); Manifesta 11, Zurich, Switzerland (2016); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania (2016); Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2015); Tate Modern, London, UK (2015); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal (2014); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2014); and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2013).

Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial

Supported by

Simon Lee Gallery, Londont
The Polish Cultural Institute
ARUP

Address

Invisible Wind Factory
3 Regent Rd
Liverpool
L3 7DS

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