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Alcina's Island

Pola Dwurnik

12.02. - 11.04.2015

Alcina's Island

The one who is married to painting.


Pola Dwurnik is a painter. There's no doubt about it. With her artistic creation she challenges the assumption that painting is already dead. On the contrary, with each of her new works the artist affirms that painting is still alive and, in spite of its venerable age, is doing very well. Contrary to contemporary fashion, trends and opinions, Pola Dwurnik proudly and shameless pronounces: I am married to painting, (words reflecting the famous declaration made by the Queen Elizabeth I - I am married to England) and spells out not only an artistic manifesto but also a life-enduring declaration.

This eternal and everlasting union has not been bound with a random partner, with just any style of painting. This is once again rather a peculiar choice: the artist has decided to focus on traditional, figurative and narrative painting. Considering the prevailing artistic atmosphere nowadays, such a decision is clearly a daring one and only proves the artist's deep confidence in the power of the medium and this particular art language.


However, Pola Dwurnik has for a long time been prepared for this relation, even though she hasn't been exactly aware of that fact. You could not imagine more strict teachers than your own parents, artists also. You could not prepare yourself better then having art history as a background.

But it is Pola Dwurnik, who has found her partner, chosen among many other candidates. She proposed and she was kindly excepted. Not other way around. Why? Because it is a 21st century fairytale, in which girls go for whatever they wish and decide how they spend the rest of their lives.

For sure it was not an easy decision. Anyhow, the relationship doesn't belong among stories where they live happily ever after. For sure her partner is very demanding and expects good manual skills, trained craftsmanship and iron discipline. All those artistic attributes have to be supported by limitless creativity and enormous intellectual flexibility. Not to mention the courage of risking one's own status both as an artist and as a painter.

But regardless of her rebellious nature, Pola Dwurnik maintains these high requirements and stays faithful to a promise she has once made.


Pola Dwurnik doesn't put herself in the glorified position of a lonely rider, who fights in the name of painting. Within her works she critically and ironically analyses this artistic medium, herself and her surroundings. She transfers to the canvas experiences from personal life: relationships with other people, intimate moments, her fears, moments of pleasures as well as unexpected discoveries about herself and her artistic nature. To the characters portrayed on the canvas belong ex-boyfriends, good friends, close family but also total strangers spotted unexpectedly in public spaces. Also well known historical figures are extracted by the artist from their original context and placed in a totally new scenario.

Even on this level, the Polish artist once again swims against the stream. Pola Dwurnik's representations can be compared to a book and narrative story telling. What makes them readable is the combination of different elements.

Most often a casual moment from everyday life and culture becomes the inspiration for a new painting. A moment caught on the street, or in the underground, something seen in a newspaper, or by observing friends and family. Afterwards the artist draws further inspiration from literature, art history or popular and high culture and transforms the original inspiration. In a very intelligent way, she combines various motifs and extends them into new aspects. She reaches for forms of allegory, symbol and metaphor and uses them generously. She mixes, contrasts and juxtaposes all these elements and plays with them freely, but always intentionally. It might be an intuitive action, however a random accident doesn't belong to Pola Dwurnik's concept of making art.

There is no other way but just to devote time to the painting of Pola Dwurnik. As it is with viewing the pieces of old masters, works of the Polish artist require time and concentration. When those two elements come together, a painting will open up in front of the viewers' eyes and start to tell a story.  The contact with the canvas of Pola Dwurnik is a personal experience. Her paintings demand a total attention. To really see them, the viewers are forced to go deep inside the canvas and notice not only the main subject but to catch those details, which could remain unnoticed on first glance. The presented motifs could be read in many different ways and on various levels. It is only in the hands of the recipients to decide what they are willing to find in the paintings. To be able to reach it, they have to allow themselves to confront Pola Dwurnik's paintings. Take this risk and prepare to be surprised, delighted, speechless, ashamed, disgusted or scared by them. Let them speak for themselves and by every single look be able to discover new details, narration, little stories, further meanings and tensions which will suddenly appear between the images.

Only then can the viewers enter the garden of many artistic delights.


Paulina Olszewska, Berlin, February 2015

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