Paulina Olowska

Head Wig (Portrait of an exhibition)

25 September - 29 November 2009

Artists include: Jarosław Bauć, Simon Ling, Nina Könnemann, Elka Krajewska, Ken Okiishi, Paulina Olowska, Mathilde Rosier, Cindy Sherman, Catherine Sullivan, Cathy Wilkes, Katharina Wulff and Jakub Julian Ziółkowski.

For Head-Wig (Portrait of an exhibition) artist Paulina Olowska selects a number of works by twelve international artists, which all revolve around ideas of perceptual ambiguity in relation to portraiture.

The exhibition originates from Olowska’s interest in a painting by Polish artist Józef Mehoffer Portrait of wife on yellow background, dating from 1907. Mehoffer’s painting depicts an elegantly dressed lady with a large hat; however, when viewed from another angle it could also portray a monster with a golden eye.

Olowska has expanded on this dual vision, selecting works that can be seen as portraits one way or another. Some relate directly to the person, such as Cindy Sherman’s photographs and paintings by Jarosław Bauć and Katharina Wulff. Others by Simon Ling and Elka Krajewska are more ambiguous and a third group presents bizarre narratives (Nina Köennemann, Ken Okiishi and Catherine Sullivan). The labyrinth of images distorts the space of the gallery in such a way that a narrative arises between the different pieces.

The exhibition as a whole is like a mise-en-abyme, a hall of mirrors, in which the outrageous, the hysterical and the intimate all speak to one another, sharing the same psychic space. Altogether, the works form a unique constellation where clichés become surreal and the usual uncanny.

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Supported by Goethe Institute London.


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