If only we lived in Andy Warhol’s world, where everyone could be famous for 15 minutes. After enjoying our minutes of fame we could move on with the rest of our lives. In a world of fleeting moments, we could muse about what might have been before returning to the reality that life is too short to be fulfilled and too long to be remembered in every detail.
Sadly, that is not the world we live in. Our new digitally afflicted lives are laden with photos and self-declared moments of fame and (mis)fortune, all well-documented on Facebook, Instagram and twitter. We no longer have the luxury of forgetting, or moving on as the moments of our lives are incessantly regurgitated by anonymous algorithms perpetually reminding us and our friends of yesterday’s reality.
Luckily there is art as a welcome distraction – a different way of looking at ourselves and the world than through the lens of the iPhone selfie. Artists like Pola Dwurnik, who takes us on a journey of her imagined world as the Queen of Painting, are the antidote to yesteryear. By taking her typical “self-ironic vision of future” to Instagram, Pola re-interprets the selfie as more than just a memory of the past. She gives us license to reinterpret or reimagine our own reality.
Birthdays come and go, but our news feeds never seem to disappear and birthday wishes are just a click away. As we think about how to answer them (in 140 characters or less) we should learn from Pola’s example and imagine our live not as a series of selfies, but as an endless array or possibilities waiting to happen. Happy Birthday, Pola and Happy New Year to all.
Since Project Art Lounge began in 2013, a majority of the artists we support have been women. Michele Schuff, Silvia Sinha, Kamila Najbrtová and Pola Dwurnik are among the artists featured in exhibitions and on www.projectartlounge.com.
The fact that these artists are women really didn’t matter in their choosing as much as the fact that they make great art. Since the 1970’s there has been a lot written about how the “western male viewpoint” in art history has largely ignored the careers of Great Women Artists. In the 1980’s, the Guerilla Girls broadened the discussion of gender bias to highlight how sexism and other forms of discrimination impact art, film and pop culture.
While female artists like Marina Abramovic, Diane Arbus, Tracey Emin and Nan Goldin have achieved considerable fame, only a handful of living women artists including Yayoi Kusama and Cindy Sherman are recognized in the top-ranks of the art world according to Artnet’s Top-100 Living Artists. Despite considerable progress, the subject of sexism and sexual exploitation portrayed by female artists through their work reflect an ongoing reality that requires continued attention.
In a political year dominated by discussions about women and power, it’s worth reflecting on the contribution women artists have made to this important debate. Unlike their male counterparts who often brand themselves as pinnacles of individual strength, many of the strongest voices among female artists have emphasized strength through collaboration and collective action. At the forefront of the movement was the Fight Censorship Group created by artist Anita Steckel, which was as much about freedom of expression as it was about putting forth a feminist agenda.
Like the Fight Censorship Group and the Guerrilla Girls, new groups are keeping the conversation going. At a time where public discourse is increasingly dominated by social media, a refreshing example of real world collaboration is The Fainting Club, an “old boys network for women” founded by L.A. based artist Zoe Crosher. The Fainting Club brings together women artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and chefs to celebrate their contribution to creative diversity. One recent event references the seminal 1979 artwork “The Dinner Party” by artist Judy Chicago with partygoers participating in a wikipedia edit-a-thon to add 39 new names to our collective historical record.
At the end of the day, by celebrating women – whether consciously or not – Project Art Lounge is happy to support the vision and stories these artists have to share. Their legacy, like the contribution of all women in art, politics and other realms of public life is worthy of our support. In the months ahead, Project Art Lounge, which recently relocated to the New York area, will be creating new ways to connect artists, collectors and supporting institutions. Stay tuned and join the conversation.
Pola Dwurnik is not only a painter; through her paintings and drawings she is also a song-writer. Her lyrics are full of mystery and intrigue. They are about love, crime, sex and prayer – all the elements that make up a good song or story. In society and the media, these stories are often told from the man’s point of view. It is time to listen to a woman’s voice, to a Queen of Painting.
As the world around us is changing and some voices – including in Pola’s native Poland – cling desperately to tradition, Pola’s work represents a break with the past and a challenge to conventional wisdom. Her’s is not the motherly voice that serenades us into feelings of calm and security. It is the voice of strength and conviction that conveys a sense that things will never be the same. In Pola’s kingdom, which often interweaves the animal and human worlds, audacity is celebrated and it’s only natural that the protagonist is a woman – and she comes out on top. In her book “GIRL ON CANVAS“, Pola’s friend and journalist Jerzy Szgiel writes “Painting your nails is not the same as sharpening your claws and yet they are somehow related.”
Following on the heels of “Before the Orgy” – a major exhibition of her paintings, Pola Dwurnik’s new show focuses on her recent paper works in gouache, watercolour, ink, pencil:
Pola Dwurnik. A Song About a Doctor and Other Drawings
Opening: 15 Jan 2016, 5 PM
15 Jan 2016 – 29 Feb 2016
Wroclaw Contemporary Museum
While Pola’s art is often a depiction of herself and her own unique fantasy world, make no mistake. The emotions, fears, anxiety and mystery that her pictures convey are just as much a reflection about us – her subjects – as it is about the Queen of Painting. Pola works in her studios in Berlin and Warsaw.
Pola Dwurnik at buch|bund in Berlin
After unveiling her book last year, Pola Dwurnik has had plenty to say about the world of contemporary art. She continues the conversation on September 19th at buch|bund with one of the book’s contributors, Konstanty F. Szydłowski, philosopher, romanist, art critic, translator, curator. More about Girl on Canvas and what Pola has to say about painting here…
After just completing her beautiful book project Girl on Canvas, artist Pola Dwurnik turns her focus to another creation which utilizes her diverse artistic palette. The goal: to create an alternative world history out of reused postage stamps. On her project’s Facebook page she sends an open invitation to send her your stamps from around the world. Take a closer look and you realize how captivated she is by the stories and motives behind the images.
In their book Teaching As a Subversive Activity, authors Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner challenge the hierarchy of a teacher driven education system in America and invite a democratization of the learning process – a revolutionary idea when the book was published in 1971.
In her book project GIRL ON CANVAS, artist Pola Dwurnik presents her own work in a revolutionary new way. Self described as “Subversive, rascally and girlish,” Pola’s book includes contributions by over 30 art historians, designers, essayists and philosophers. She challenges us to take a fresh look at painting and its reception, “completely uncontrolled by the artist.”
In an art world where trends are frequently culled, curated and controlled by a small elite, Pola Dwurnik invites us – like Postman and Weingartner – to challenge our assumptions and let art (like schools) be what they are – a source of creativity and independence. Pola’s book premiere’s at berlinerpool on January 30, 2014 in Berlin.