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Basel: Pola Dwurnik
May 4, 2017 - July 1, 2017
Opening: 04.05.2017 (Thursday) at 6:30 pm
Identity (Latin: ‚īdem‘, the same), condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities and beliefs that distinguish or identify a person or a thing.
The term ‚identity‘ has always been questioned and discussed in philosophy as well as in psychology. Today‘s social and technological development impose new reflections about the term. The interdependence of possibilities and identity is constantly at the center of the work of the Polish artist Pola Dwurnik. The identities she is creating are often conflicting with the areas of self-awareness and self-initiative.
In her LANGWIDERE SERIES in particular, the artist wants to raise the question about the identity concept of our time: The almost in nite, ultimately technical options at our disposal allow us to live simultaneously various lives and even various identities. Nobody is being born only once, we all can be reborn and reborn again – we can live in various countries, with various titles, professions, partners, religions, and we can even change our sex. Our bodies too, our faces can be exchanged at will thanks to the present technologies. We have to live so many lives that the endeavor to achieve eternal youth has lost its sense.
On a large oil on canvas, on a series of works on paper as well as on two sets of porcelain gurines – all portraying heads of female artists of the 20th century (strong iconic personalities like Marina Abramovic, Carolee Schneemann, Louise Bourgeois, Pipilotti Rist, Agnes Martin, Frida Kahlo) – the artist expresses the dramatic phenomenon of the vain, coldhearted, selfish and narcissistic Princess Langwidere.
By doing so, Pola Dwurnik uses her LANGWIDERE SERIES to express her own identity as an artist. While assuming the role of Princess Langwidere, she internalizes the identities of the artists who have impressed her and questions how they have been influencing her. This happens with a critical undertone: The fragility of the porcelain figurines stands for the efforts a female artist has to undergo in order to reach coexistence with her male counterparts and symbolizes the fleetingness of a female artist‘s career. At the same time, the figurines have an intended decorative character. This is a hint at the art market where female artists have to struggle harder in imposing their thoughts behind the decorative aspects of their work and in being considered equal to their male colleagues, especially in major exhibitions.
Obsessed by her own appearance, the fictional character of Princess Langwidere, who was first introduced in Lyman Frank Baum‘s third Oz book titled Ozma of Oz, published in 1907, possesses thirty exchangeable heads with various personalities. She loves to change her head whenever she feels like and she enjoys to admire the effects in her splendid mirrored apartments. But who really is Princess Langwidere? Nobody knows. The changing of her head not only alters her appearance but her identity too.
Pola Dwurnik is a painter, draftsman, self-publishing artist and art historian. In her oil painting, she sets apart identities, which are trapped by the emotional conflict of inner and outer perception, and with her compositions she achieves a new expressive force of figurative representation. In her drawings, she plays with the interactions between comics and simple, quickly made sketches on the one hand, and complex, realistic representations on the other. It focuses on contemporary reality, especially its social and private aspects. Her drawings are often narrative and represent true stories from her life and from the art world. Pola Dwurnik is known for her sharp irony and her peculiar view of the absurdities and paradoxes of the contemporary art world. Pola Dwurnik is represented in several private and institutional collections. She lives and works in Berlin and Warsaw.