Paulina Włostowska

Polana Institute

June 20–27, 2020

Fascinated by archival materials, historical art materials and underestimated media from the borderline of high and applied art, Paulina Włostowska reaches back to the history of Muranów, a district in Warsaw. In vacant business premises, she creates and reinterprets the retail and service space, in the style of the Craftsmen's Pavilions from the early 1960s. The composition of the store's scenery consists of a specially designed shop exposition and wall decoration. The title of the exhibition, Papieroplastyka, is taken from the 1956 guidebook Commercial Advertising – a method of decorating shop windows with paper-made objects resembling advertised products. The arrangement from the window can also be found on one of the paintings inside.

Paulina Włostowska's "shop" combines artistic and utilitarian forms and objects. Behind its conscious stylization we sense the artist's passion for craftsmanship, a sentiment for forgotten or underestimated artistic techniques, interest in the material, and faith in the manual proficiency required for analogue design and execution.

Paulina Włostowska's artistic practice is developing in two paths – in the field of art and in commercial projects, such as advertising murals and lettering. The attachment to craftsmanship greatly influences her method of work, also based on the use of collected objects and materials.

Paulina Włostowska's exhibition, completely different than the one planned before the pandemic,  poses a question about the future. How to make the most of our shared experience?  In the intention of Muranów's founder, architect Bohdan Lachert, the unplastered buildings of the current residential district of Muranów –  on the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto – were a monument, a symbol of the Holocaust. Włostowska is interested in the value of a new beginning, the chance to build and define the world anew. She contrasts uncertainty and fear with positivist thinking, the timelessness of artistic practice, craftsmanship and activism.

* Lettering collaboration with Szczęsny Szuwar 


Exhibition view