Paulina Ołowska The Spell of Warsaw

01.03 – 27.04.2014 Paulina Ołowska The Spell of Warsaw

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

artist: Paulina Ołowska
curator: Magda Kardasz
collaboration: Katarzyna Kołodziej

The largest Polish presentation of Paulina Ołowska’s work to date, the exhibition shows both its thematic diversity and the various working methods employed by the artist. It features works of painting, sculpture, stage design, installation, neon light, assemblage, drawing, collage, textile, as well as a new installation, created specially for the exhibition: a fashion store with a collection by the brand Clemens en August.

In her practice, Ołowska explores the issue of liaisons between the historical avant-garde and the present, creating a melange of arts: high-brow with applied and popular. She is preoccupied with contemporariness and topicality, which she confronts with utopian visions from the past, encouraging the viewer to reflect on forgotten aesthetics and ideologies.

The exhibition takes its title from the name of a perfumery shop which functioned at the corner of Krucza and Żurawia Streets in Warsaw from the 1960s. It bore a stylish neon sign with the inscription and an image of bottle of perfume. In the 1980s, the sign was removed, and in the 1990s it was replaced by a ‘billboard girl’ typical for the era’s advertising. Today the windows of the now-defunct shop are covered with layers of street posters. The spell of Warsaw is gone.

Paulina Ołowska studies the processes of urban transformation and social relationships in an era of growing consumerism. Her works often feature the female figure, narrating about the woman in liberal capitalism and as an object of consumption and advertising.

The exhibition features works dating back to 2004. The artist focuses on works relating to her earlier projects and realisations, broadly inspired by Warsaw – her history and transformation. Warsaw, according to Ołowska, is a woman. “The Spell of Warsaw” speaks of dreams, of perfect life, referring with a sense of distance to changes and new situations.

The exhibition is accompanied by an English-language monographic publication, the artist’s first, published by JRP | Ringier, and an insert with the Polish versions of the texts contained therein.

Paulina Ołowska was born in 1976 in Gdańsk. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, e.g. 50th Venice Biennale, 2003; 9th Istanbul Biennial, 2005; 5th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, 2008; “Ecstatic Alphabets”, MoMA, New York, 2012; “Ostalgia”, New Museum, New York, 2012; Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, 2013. Selected solo shows: “Head-Wig (Portrait of an Exhibition)”, Camden Arts Centre, London, 2009; “Applied Fantastic”, Metro Pictures, New York, 2010; “Accidental Collages”, Tramway, Glasgow, 2010; “The Revenge of the Wise-Woman”, Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, 2011, “Mother 200”, Simon Lee Gallery, London, 2012; Kunsthalle Basel, 2013. The artist is represented by Galerie Buchholz, Cologne; Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw; Simon Lee Gallery, London; and Metro Pictures, New York.

Artist's works in the Zachęta collection

  • Zdjęcie pracy Curtain for Jadwiga Maziarska. From the Puppets: Theatre, Film, Politics exhibition
    Curtain for Jadwiga Maziarska. From the Puppets: Theatre, Film, Politics exhibitionPaulina Ołowska2019
  • Zdjęcie pracy Goldfinger
    GoldfingerPaulina Ołowska2017
  • Zdjęcie pracy Applied Fantastic, Inspiration Wall
    Applied Fantastic, Inspiration WallPaulina Ołowska2010
  • Zdjęcie pracy La Shoe
    La ShoePaulina Ołowska2005
Related media
  • mediateka / audio
  • mediateka / audio
  • Grafika obiektu: Zachęta. March, April, May 2014
    mediateka / folders / Texts
    Zachęta. March, April, May 2014
  • Grafika obiektu: Accessible Art. Workshops for the deaf accompanying exhibitions at Zachęta
    mediateka / photo gallery
    Accessible Art. Workshops for the deaf accompanying exhibitions at Zachęta
  • Grafika obiektu: Paulina Ołowska. The Spell of Warsaw
    mediateka / posters
    Paulina Ołowska. The Spell of Warsaw
  • Grafika obiektu: Paulina Ołowska
    mediateka / video-documentation
    Paulina Ołowska
    The Spell of Warsaw
Related events
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    09.04.2014 (Wed) 17:00
    Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
  • Inne wydawnictwa
    119,00 złPaulina Ołowska. Book


Paulina Ołowska
The Spell of Warsaw
01.03 – 27.04.2014

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Godziny otwarcia:
Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.

The show is organised in association with Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, where some of the works were presented in the exhibition “Au Bonheur des Dames” (September 2012 – January 2014)

partner of the gallery: Lidex
sponsors of the opening ceremony: DeLonghi, Kenwood, Freixenet
media patronage: Futu, K Mag, The Warsaw Voice, Stolica,