Paulina Włostowska
The Department of Colour and Light

Muzeum Lniarstwa im. Filipa de Girarda w Żyrardowie
ul. Dittricha 18, 96-300 Żyrardów
September 17–25, 2022

Walking a thin line between fine and applied arts (often defined by the status of a unique piece as opposed to serially- or mass-produced items) and simultaneously executing thorough artistic research, the artist Paulina Włostowska not only questions the neglected crafts, but also brings to the limelight the long-forgotten figures – “plastic arts pioneers” that, for her, are heroines in their own right, whose stories have the potential to inspire yet another generation of creatives.

For her exhibition – or, rather, intervention – at the former linen factory in Żyrardów, Włostowska plays with the historical layers and contexts of presentation, interweaving her works not only with the contemporary, educational display, but also with the history of the site itself. As if following a strategy of artistic mimicry, she redesigns the abstract and expressionist patterns found in modern textile prints and jacquards and the graphic layout of sample books and tear sheets, and inserts them within the permanent exhibition, enhancing the latter with a vivid, thoroughly contemporary commentary.

In The Department of Colour and Light, Włostowska thoughtfully revisits the now-neglected topic of “The artist within the industry”, whose source lies in the interwar period and the constructivist movements of Soviet Russia and the Bauhaus and which was advertised heavily in the two decades after WW2 by newly established institutions such as the Warsaw-based Institute of Industrial Design – the vanguard research and development unit for industrial design, initially dubbed “Office for the Supervision of Production Aesthetics”. It was there that the original Department of Colour and Light, from which the exhibition takes its name, was established – offering research-driven solutions both for the industry and the domestic environments.

Włostowska eagerly revisits this euphoric, enthusiastic atmosphere and the pioneering spirit that accompanied the postwar reconstruction and institutionalisation of the so-called "Polish School of Textiles.
- Klara Czerniewska-Andryszczyk

Exhibition was realised within the frame of a grant by the Polish Ministry of Culture for the year 2022 and in co-operation of Linen Museum in Żyrardów.