Located in the heart of London, the Royal College of Art (RCA) is the most influential, wholly postgraduate university of art and design in the world. It’s the dream of art students, crème de la crème among the art schools. The RCA boasts such noteworthy alumni as David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Christopher Bailey or Sir Ridley Scott – the list goes on. Meet 4 young Polish female artists from Poland – Ewa Axelrad, Joanna Piotrowska, Agata Madejska and Alicja Patanowska – who graduated from the RCA, too.
Ewa Axelrad graduated with a Master of Arts in Photography from the RCA in 2010. Her practice comprises mainly of installations, photographic and moving image and sculptural objects. Among the recurring subjects in her practice there is violence to be found in interpersonal and collective relations, and its manifestations in everyday objects and architectural settings. Her recent works include a sculpture ‘Genos’, a construction made of riot shields used by the police in street protests. It’s a second piece in which the artist uses riot shields; in a previous one – ‘Zadyma’ 2014 – the shields face each other introducing ambiguity about whom they are meant to protect from whom. ‘Genos’ has been recently shown at the Artissima Art Fair in Turin (Autumn 2016) whereas ‘Zadyma’ is being shown at ‘Labour Relations’ Wrocław Contemporary Museum’s collection exhibition. 2017 is going to be a particularly busy year for Ewa with three solo shows in London and Poland. http://www.ewa-axelrad.com/index.html
Joanna Piotrowska graduated with an MA in Photography at the RCA in 2013. In 2014, her critically acclaimed book ‘Frowst’ was awarded first prize at First Book Award and draw the attention of the press, including reviews in The Independent, Dazed & Confused, Time Out, Calvert Journal and Vice, among others. ‘Frowst’ – a series of staged family shots,captured the nature of a home. Piotrowska’s work channels what adolescence actually felt like; the awkwardness, shyness, vulnerability, and fear; the strange sensation of being in a rapidly changing body, and the unyielding desire to resist authority and stand up for yourself wrote Anastasiia Fedorov for Broadly Magazine. Piotrowska’s most recent project ‘Frantic’ documents a series of shelters built inside inhabited houses. Shots were taken in Lisbon, where Piotrowska involved local people in erecting inside their own apartments or gardens a tent-like shelter they could inhabit, using their furniture for the structure and selecting personal objects they would live with. The project was exhibited this autumn at the Lisbon-based Madragoa Gallery. http://joannapiotrowska.com/
Alicja Patanowska completed her degree at the Ceramic and Glass Department of the RCA in 2014. She works across two fields: visual arts and design. These disciplines often overlap and complement each other in her projects. This cross-cutting approach is clear in the case of her most awarded project Plantation – a ceramic set made of upcycled glass and porcelain elements designed to grow plants without any soil. Plantation was her graduation project and can now be seen in art collections in London, Warsaw and Shanghai. Her recent installation ‘Mice and Men’, presented at the BWA Wrocław, was made of used porcelain – waste from production lines – and taxidermied animals, the victims of human traffic, recklessness or lab experiments. The exhibition commented on food waste and the contemporary chaos of consumption. She also has a very busy and successful year, with a participation in the prestigious exhibition ‘Future Heritage’ of the luxury design during the design fair Decorex in London. In October this year, The Plantation was awarded the MUST HAVE award at the Lodz Design Festival. In 2017 she is planning to explore new areas of collaboration working on projects with the Slowacki Theatre in Krakow. http://www.patanowska.pl/
Agata Madejska completed her MA in Photography at the RCA in 2010. Four years later, her photographs ‘25–36’ were exhibited as part of the ‘Conflict, Time, Photography’ exhibition at the prestigious Tate Modern in London. One of the most abiding images is Agata Madejska’s 25–36 (2010), wrote Karen Wright about Madejska’s photographs for the Independent -… its dates referring to how long it took to construct a vast war memorial, more than twice the length of the conflict. Its abstraction masks the improbability of its scale, leaving, as many of the works in this show do, the traces of war, even in the monuments left behind. Since then, Madejska has been busy exhibiting her works in numerous exhibitions around the Europe. Her interest lies in the presence of an object in a space and more recently of an object in public and semi-public space. Right now, she is preparing a solo presentation at the Parrotta Contemporary Art in Stuttgart, where she will further explore the topic of clashing of ambitious architectural projects with cultural artefacts within the boundaries of Square Mile. http://www.madejska.eu/