Paulina Olowska


Paulina Olowska’s theater play and installation The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue and its continuation, the ballet Slavic Goddesses draw from the work of visionary artists who were active during the inter-war period, and who were deeply influenced by Slavic history. The original theatre play The Mother was written by experimental playwright Stanislaw Igancy Witkiewicz—a great friend of visual artist Sofia Stryjenska, whose paintings representing figures from Slavic mythology in outlandishly imagined dress provide the basis for costumes in Slavic Goddesses. In turn, Slavic Goddesses further considers questions posed in The Mother regarding the appropriation of so-called outsider works: the two artists spent most of their time in the rural Zakopane Mountains, where they admiringly observed local folk and craft culture, incorporating their observations into their respective practices. Yet, both Witkiewicz and Stryjenska were themselves ultimately left out of mainstream Western art-historical narratives. Olowska’s performances chart the genealogy of Slavic cultures, but point to dynamics in art and society that appear well beyond this sphere.