Polish crochet artist extraordinaire, Olek will be exhibiting at White Walls February 8 through March 8. The artist who works with yarn and knitting needles is different from many of the artists previously exhibited at the gallery. Instead of using spray paint and graphic images to express her views on the world around us, Olek covers her surroundings with bright and powerful crochet patterns. She often uses her craft to comment on social injustices and promote ideas of community and equality. An example of this can be seen in an earlier post about her work Russia’s Pride as a statement against Russia’s anti-gay laws. Along with her artwork Olek also has a blog through the Huffington Post where she shares her insights on life, love, law and disorder. In the post “Write.Send.Read.Delete.” Olek talks about her art surrounding communication in the digital age and how her personal experience is interwoven with her yarn creations. A memorable example is a text message from a lover Olek crocheted into a panel which read ”Your pussy is my soulmate.” Olek explains, ”These messages are as private as they are ephemeral and I wanted to make them permanent, public statements.”
Olek has been creating something from seemingly nothing since her childhood. Talking about growing up in communist Poland, she discusses her desire to create: “We had very little, so I would save everything that entered my house and turn it into something else. Every morning the milkman would bring bottles. I’d save the colored tin tops, then make Christmas decorations out of a year’s worth of savings. I learned as a kid that if you don’t have something, find a way to make it.” More than just a philosophy of ’waste not, want not’ Olek says her creative drive is powered by the intention to highlight “existing truths, resurrect memories, honor history and memorialize dreams.”
While in Seville last November for her show Santa Agatha, La Torera (check out a video here) Olek worked on making over El Cid, a statue of a Castilian nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain, who after suffering severe battle wounds, asked his wife to promise that he would appear in battle the following day whether dead or alive. His wife, Jimena Díaz, honored her oath with instructions that El Cid’s armored corpse be set atop his horse. Legend holds that the morale boost of his presence led his troops to victory. In her post ”Resurrecting El Cid” Olek shares, “Creating public works is my own way of honoring the past, reinventing traditions and reviving memories of greatness.”
Rather than an act of covering, Olek’s crocheting in all its forms–from explicit revelations to grand public works–is an act of transformation.
We are thrilled to bring Olek to San Francisco for a gallery-filling installation, I Haven’t a Single Explorer on My Planet. Join us for the opening February 8, from 7-11 P.M.
Photos from oleknyc.com unless otherwise noted.You Might Also Like: