Mariola Przyjemska Consumption, Construction and Melancholia

16.09.2022 – 08.01.2023 Mariola Przyjemska Consumption, Construction and Melancholia

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

curators: Ewa Majewska and Ewa Opałka

Presented at the Zachęta Gallery exhibition is the first, so far, such a comprehensive presentation of Mariola Przyjemska's works, bringing together oeuvre from all periods of her career. The monographic exhibition will present more than 100 works created over the last four decades. It aims to introduce the work of this artist, who always draws on both cutting-edge and traditional media — from painting and drawing to photography and video — in an innovative way. Przyjemska comments in a lively and engaged manner on the transformation of the real and symbolic Polish post-transformation landscape. In the early 1990s — almost a decade before sociologists and cultural researchers — she discovered the importance of branding and logos in the modern world. Despite this, the artist has not yet taken her rightful place in the canon of contemporary Polish art — she has appeared in important group exhibitions at home and abroad, often in the context of critical art, but without much resonance. 

Towards the end of her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the second half of the 1980s, Przyjemska developed an autonomous proposal for ‘mystical’ painting, which was not devoid of transgressive elements — at the time, she remained within the circle of the Świadomość Neue Bieremiennost group. At the beginning of the 1990s, in response to the transformation processes taking place in Poland, the artist made a pioneering attempt to summarise the issue of consumerism, reaching for the technique of large-format advertising photography, which was still new in Poland at the time. In the Labels series, she effectively expressed the importance of branding, in the works in the Cosmetics series, she combined the latest trends in consumerism, while the series of urban photographs and paintings are an ‘over-documentation’ of contemporary architectural transformations, a kind of psychogeography, a type of situationist drift. Here, abstraction meets pop art, 

criticism meets advertising, and consumerism meets a radical defiance of conformity. After 2000, Przyjemska created an artistic commentary on consumer capitalism in her works, seeking an avant-garde free of didacticism and exaltation. These works are ironic, close to third-wave feminism, marked by affect, but characterised by a distanced view of both consumption and its critique. The artist invites us into a world of neoliberal bliss, and her art says more than classical critical art. In it, we recognise ourselves and ourselves alone, not only outside the commodity economy, but also at its centre.


Artist's works in the Zachęta collection

  • Zdjęcie pracy Frontfix
    FrontfixMariola Przyjemska1996
  • Zdjęcie pracy Musik Korps
    Musik KorpsMariola Przyjemska1999
  • Zdjęcie pracy Kreta
    KretaMariola Przyjemska1999


Mariola Przyjemska
Consumption, Construction and Melancholia
16.09.2022 – 08.01.2023

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
See on the map

Godziny otwarcia:
Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.

Exhibition partner and co-publisher of the publication: