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September 14, 2015 - September 27, 2015
Paulina Olowska ‘The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue’
Monday 14 September – Sunday 27 September 2015
Installation in Realisms (Room 10)
‘The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue’, a new commission by the artist Paulina Olowska, takes the form of a two-week installation and a site-specific theatre performance staged within Tate’s collection.
Olowska transforms the room dedicated to Realism in the Poetry and Dream collection display into a domestic space. Handmade wallpaper, mimicking the interior of a wooden house, is hung onto the walls and the gallery is furnished with wardrobes, table and chairs. The artist’s fictional house becomes the home to paintings by Meredith Frampton and Henri Matisse. During the day the installation functions as part of the collection,while in the evening it is the set of a new theatre play devised by Olowska.
The artist directs parts of ‘‘The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue’, a theatre play by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, the avant-garde Polish artist and playwright of the first half of the 20th century. Two professional actors play the role of the mother and the son, while Olowska’s friends and collaborators take on characters including the maid, the prostitute, the aristocratic party boy and the suspicious individual.
‘The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue’, (1924) portrays the dysfunctional relationship between Janina Eely, a matron, and Leon Eely, her good-looking and clean-shaven son. The story takes place in a bourgeois setting in which hallucinations, schizophrenia, alcoholism, madness and drug addiction turn into a surrealist mayhem.
For this new production, Paulina Olowska revisits a modern drama and engages with a public museum collection as a site for performance.
About the artist
Working in painting, performance, installation and curating, Paulina Olowska’s work often focuses on forgotten figures of feminism, minor histories, and popular aesthetics, quoting period fashion photography, agitprop posters, graffiti, periodicals, and signage. She recently had solo projects and exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Kunsthalle Basel and Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw (2014) and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2013). She lives in Krakow, Poland.
She and the artist Bonnie Camplin presented Usher We at Tate Modern in 2008 in The Tanks, and Olowska’s film Welcome to the Exhibition (2005) was screened as part of the symposium Performance Year Zero: A Living History in The Tanks, Tate Modern in 2012.