Paulina Olowska: Destroyed Woman

Curated by Clément Dirié
London  11 October - 16 November 2019
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Destroyed Woman puts forward a visual and emotional landscape through which to contemplate the self and the other, provoking our consideration of themes such as womanhood, ageing, the power of tradition and the spectator’s gaze.

Paulina Olowska’s exhibition at Simon Lee Gallery constitutes the latest chapter in the artist’s continuous and fertile research into image-making, exploring the ways in which she interprets painting as a vehicle for her idiosyncratic visions and as a facilitator for the exchange of feelings and sensations with the viewer. Spanning the gallery’s three floors, Destroyed Woman puts forward a visual and emotional landscape through which to contemplate the self and the other, provoking our consideration of themes such as womanhood, ageing, the power of tradition and the spectator’s gaze. With this exhibition Olowska invites us to thoroughly re-contemplate representations of women, particularly within an art historical context, and to redefine the purpose of their portraiture; how, she asks, can we reformulate tradition to encompass what has been destroyed, what must be recovered, and what needs to be invented?

In Olowska’s latest series of paintings female figures are captured posing, working or acting in diverse backgrounds. For the most part they are represented alone, engrossed in their own thoughts or activities. They watch us, watching them absorbed in both past and future.

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Selected Works
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A collaboration with Frieze Studios

Paulina Olowska: Destroyed Woman

Artist Paulina Olowska invited Frieze Magazine into her studio at the Villa Kadenowka earlier this summer, providing a background for her show ‘Destroyed Woman’ at Simon Lee Gallery, London.

‘What is maybe considered a leftover or a dumb story, could actually have a hidden meaning’, says artist Paulina Olowska. In this video, filmed in in Rabka-Zdroj, Poland around the artist’s studio and the Villa Kadenowka, a 1930s villa she has transformed into a space for artists events, Olowska discusses the complex relations of her practice to art history, tradition, place, dress and processes of mediation.

Revealing the rich diversity of her work and expression, the video includes footage of Olowska excavating fabric she had buried in the ground near Kadenowka, which have been incorporated into a sculpture displayed in ‘Destroyed Woman’. Its title a reference to a pivotal text by feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, Olowska explains her particular concern for making room for vulnerability in the representation of female experience. ‘I’m tired of calling women ‘strong’ and “superwoman”', she says, 'there is still a sense of doing a lot for female place in culture’.

The exhibition is on view till 16 November.

Paulina Olowska invited Frieze Magazine into her studio at the Villa Kadenowka earlier this summer, providing a background for her show ‘Destroyed Woman’ at Simon Lee Gallery, London, on till 16 November 2019. A Frieze Studios film.
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Paulina Olowska, Natalia Sielewicz and Elisabeth Lebovici in conversation with Clément Dirié

Receive information on available works by Paulina Olowska