Artist Tatiana Wolska's first UK solo institutional exhibition in the UK at Midlands Arts Centre
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Artist Tatiana Wolska's first UK solo institutional exhibition in the UK at Midlands Arts Centre
Tatiana Wolska, sculpture.



BIRMINGHAM.- Midlands Arts Centre is launching Leisure as Resistance, artist Tatiana Wolska’s first UK solo institutional exhibition in the UK. Born in Zawiercie, Poland (1977) and based in Brussels, Wolska’s multidisciplinary practice is characterised by her utilisation of repurposed and recycled materials, with recent large scale installations including London’s, Sculpture in The City and Frieze Sculpture Park (2021). Through her work, Wolska evokes the necessary resourcefulness of her childhood in communist Poland, where recycling became a necessity due to the scarcity of goods.

Wolska, describes herself as a 'junk collector', breathing new life into discarded materials to transform once-polluting objects into captivating, poetic and biomorphic sculptures. Plastic bottles, rusty nails, salvaged timber, foam from old mattresses and abandoned furniture - often found on the street - are given a second purpose.

Wolska comments, “It's surprising that we've been discussing ecology for decades. We all talk about it: fuel, plastic, bags, cotton swabs, and so on. We know it by heart, yet we continue to purchase non-degradable plastic bottles. They take 500 years to decompose, and yet we persist in buying them (...).

Leisure as Resistance features several new commissions including scrap wood sculptures, large-scale drawings, a monumental makeshift hut using scrap wood and a site-specific mural. A programme of community-based events will coincide with the exhibition, encouraging multi-cultural and diverse audiences in Birmingham to consider critical topics such as the regeneration of natural resources. The exhibition showcases two of the artist’s signature recycled bottle sculptures, which respond to environmental concerns about plastic waste – one sculpture will be displayed in MAC’s Outdoor Terrace.

Wolska’s practice over the past decade has included creating makeshift but monumental, shelters and dwellings from roughhewn and repurposed wood. These constructions evoke memories of childhood hideaways and treehouses, responding to the human desire for a sanctuary for both the body and mind.

For MAC, for the first time Wolska will create a hut-like wooden structure intended for visitors to enter and activate through interaction. Equipped with books, clothes and seeds for exchange, Wolska’s ‘hut’ will be a space of rest, relaxation and contemplation, set amidst a backdrop of plants.

The exhibition encourages visitors to live slower lives as an act of resistance against the wastefulness of today’s world. Wolska strongly believes that leisure activities like drawing, reading or gardening can empower individuals and foster positive social change. Leisure becomes an act of resistance - not because it is fundamentally good, but because of the space it creates for the intangible, unquantifiable aspects of life.

Roma Piotrowska, Curator at MAC, says, “Leisure as Resistance is a key component of our 2024 program, dedicated to showcasing artists and designers who actively address environmental issues, with a specific focus on waste and the circular economy. Collaborating with local volunteer-based community groups, including Balsall Heath Repair Café and The Moseley Hive, we are excited to present a dynamic public program for the exhibition, activating Wolska's hut. We feel privileged to support the artist in her endeavours to broaden her practice towards a more socially engaged approach.”

Leisure as Resistance is curated by Roma Piotrowska. With special thanks for the loans of artworks courtesy of l'étrangère, Irène Laub Gallery and the artist.

Tatiana Wolska’s multidisciplinary practice is characterized by organic growth and the proliferation of forms. Her drawings and sculptures, intimately linked in a constant dialogue, bear witness to a research on the sinuosity of curves, the emergence of organic elements and the hybridization of objects. Plastic bottles, nails, recycled wood, furniture elements become foundations for growth and amplification. Through an economy of means and the simplicity of gesture, Wolska brings out the inherent poetic qualities of these recycled materials. Her installations are Promethean and spectacular works that stand out as monuments of archaic beauty.

Tatiana Wolska graduated from Villa Arson in Nice (FR). She won the “Grand Prix du Salon de Montrouge” in 2014 and was invited by the Pierre Bergé Foundation for a solo show at Palais de Tokyo in Paris (FR). Since then, her work has been regularly shown by international institutions, including Frac Corse in Corte (FR) and Frac PACA (FR) in 2016, Villa Empain in Brussels (BE) and Arsenal Gallery in Poznan (PL) in 2018, Frac Centre-Val de Loire in Orléans (FR) in 2019 and Villa Datris in Paris (FR) in 2020. Her work was recently shown in a retrospective exhibition at the castle of Chamarande in Essonne (FR), as well as Sculpture in the City and Frieze Sculpture, both in London (UK).

Tatiana Wolska is represented by Joanna Gemes and l’etrangere in the UK l’étrangère (letrangere.net)










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