Zofia Stryjenska

On Paper II P. OlowskaZofia Stryjenska


Set of 8 postcards by Paulina Olowska, published as part of On Paper a special collaborative project between 5th Berlin Biennial of contemporary art 2008 and A Prior Magazine. Limited edition of 1000 copies

Zofia Stryjenska, Paulina Olowska, Monika Szewczyk

6 postcards : Paulina Olowska Zofia Stryjenska 2008, Gouache on canvas
2 postcards : Installation view of Paulina Olowska’s Zofia Stryjenska 2008, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin

all cards have quotes by Zofia Stryenska

A flight into the stratosphere! The headlines are shouting. An interplanetary spacecraft! I’m reflecting on how incredibly often new inventions have recently ‘exploded’.” (Zofia Stryjenska)

Paulina Olowska
* 1976 in Gdańsk (pl), lives and works in Berlin (de)

Zofia Stryjeńska
2008, Gouache on canvas, 230 x 400 cm; 230 x 160 cm; 230 x 180 cm; 230 x 240 cm; 80 x 55 cm, 150 x 390 cm

Paulina Olowska’s new series of large-format tableaux entitled Zofia Stryjeńska is a painterly dialogue with the extensive oeuvre of Polish artist Zofia Stryjeńska (1891–1974). Stryjeńska’s paintings, which draw from Art Deco, Slavic mythology, and folk art from the Tatra Mountains, are joyful celebrations of idealized, bizarre worlds from the past. The unique imagination and sense of optimism that radiate from her paintings have fascinated Olowska since her initial encounter with the late artist’s work. As a result, Olowska has created a series of monumental grayscale replicas based on a choice of exemplary gouaches and paintings by Stryjeńska found in the collections of Poland’s national museums in Warsaw and Kraków. An altogether new portrait painting of Stryjeńska by Olowska adds to the ensemble. In using grayscale, Olowska focuses on Stryjeńska’s vibrant and contrasting compositions
and spatial arrangements. Furthermore, according to the artist, evoking black and white reproductions from books enables a distancing that opens new possibilities for her to both enter Stryjenska’s work in a respectful way and investigate what is of most interest to her in these paintings: the constellations of strange characters with their elaborate dress codes, the representations of animals and nature, and the deliberate confusion of gender stereotypes. In Stryjeńska’s paintings, what at first sight appears to be a rather traditionalist representation of a historical event becomes, upon closer examination, the point of departure for an idiosyncratic narrative borne from the imagination. (on her contribution to the 5th Berlin Biennial, 2008)