Paulina Ołowska is awarded the Aachen Art Prize 2014. In this context she realises a site-specific exhibition project at the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst.
In her artistic work Paulina Ołowska trawls the historical sources of Modernism, delves into art and design history, and draws on fashion and advertising. Fascinated by the utopian promise articulated in the historical avant-garde, Olowska adopts and makes use of their techniques. She thus works in a variety of media, such as performance, video, sculpture, painting, and fashion, while also curating exhibitions or organizing events. In the process, forgotten women of bygone eras once again come under the spotlight, reappraised by Olowska and repositioned historically. She raises the issue of how we read, appraise and negotiate history, and thus the present.
Exploring the idea of production, both industrial and artistic, the show 'Needle/Nadel' addresses fragmented processes by which an artwork comes to be. Olowska combines disparate sources, merging found material, applied arts, and cast-off or recycled elements from factory production together within her own painting and sculpture. Culling from high and low materiality, sculptures may juxtapose marble, metal and pieces of 1960s tapestry. The exhibition structures an interplay between positive and negative, showing the gaps and by-products of artworks in formation.
The title 'Needle/Nadel' plays with the history of the building and the crafts connected with it. Once the production facility for the world’s largest umbrella factory, its central manufacturing hall filled with working women, Ludwig Forum today displays international art.
In this industrial context of the past, Olowska’s work negotiates ideas about craft, labor and the fragile moment of an artwork’s creation. Thus, the exhibition offers insight into several of Olowska’s emblematic themes like feminism, fashion, and a critical nostalgia. Thus, the exhibition is following several of Olowska’s emblematic themes such as genderism, fashion and critical nostalgia, which revels in history while simultaneously questioning and negotiating the interpretation of history, and thereby also the present.