Paulina Ołowska

b. 1976, Gdańsk

Painter, creator of collages, videos, photographs and performances. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, she is fascinated by the pre-war avant-garde and applied art of the 1960s and 1970s. Her works are nostalgic journeys into the past, rediscovering forgotten characters. Women are the most common protagonists of her paintings. She is also strongly inspired by the Central & Eastern European aesthetic in communist times, sources of which the artist unearths in contemporaneous periodicals and fashion magazines. In collaboration with the Foksal Gallery, she funded and organised the project to renovate the Volleyball Player neon light at Plac Konstytucji in Warsaw. She was named to the 2016 Most Influential People in Culture list of the New York Times. She participated in the 50th Venice Art Biennale (2003), the 9th Istanbul Biennial (2005), the 5th Berlin Biennale (2008), and Manifesta 11 (2016). She lives and works in Raba Niżna.

Remembering Summer

1999, oil, canvas, 182 × 122 cm

The figure of a young girl against a pastel backdrop, dress and hair ruffled by a soft breeze, suggests an aura of old fashion magazines, the euphoria of holiday travel, and youthful dreams. Paulina Ołowska’s work was inspired by fashion photography in Ty i Ja (You and Me), a periodical popular in the 1960s. The artist perceives the magazine as having promoted an optimistic world outlook in a manner out of tune with the difficult times. This is one of the most seductive paintings created in Poland in the late 1990s, carefree yet sentimental, alluring yet melancholy.

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