Paulina Olowska

Squelchy Garden Mules and Mamunas

★★★★☆

On until 6 January 2024

In this season’s fad for staging mythical woodland scenes in the gallery, Olowska’s project stands out for using the human form unadulterated. In outsized oil paintings, paper collages, and even on mannequins, Olowska models the forest adventures of a cast of five stereotypically Slavic children. They climb trees, sail down the mountain river on log rafts, and forage about in late winter landscapes. A series of quirky video objects set in hand-carved frames typical of Tatra mountain handicraft has them prostrated for the camera and provides a wild soundtrack to the exhibition.

Olowska is known for her investment in the mountain mythos and the 1930s artist villa in Poland which she renovated has inspired such interest in numerous others, including some of Europe’s best-known art collectors. But that the folk rituals – the springtime drowning of Marzanna, the straw effigy of winter and death, for example – flagged up by the gallery text check out does not compensate for the exhibition’s lacklustre curation. It should be within the resources of Pace and Olowska’s experience to advance her legend beyond the discretely marketable. Presented without context, the work enchants little.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Deimantas Narkevičus, The Fifer at Maureen Paley ★★☆☆☆

Deimantas Narkevičus

The Fifer

★★☆☆☆

In the age of the decolonial, this is as quaint as it is outmoded

Stuart Middleton, The Human Model at Carlos/Ishikawa ★★☆☆☆

Stuart Middleton

The Human Model

★★☆☆☆

An interest in material is core to this practice but Middleton mistrusts his instincts.

Odoteres Ricardo de Ozias at David Zwirner ★★★☆☆

Odoteres Ricardo de Ozias

★★★☆☆

These images are perfectly charming even to a viewer possessed of a cold anthropological eye. The troubling part is in realising just how far ‘outside’ the ideas are.

Jenkin van Zyl, Dance of the Sleepwalkers at Edel Assanti ★★★☆☆

Jenkin van Zyl

Dance of the Sleepwalkers

★★★☆☆

Ring 1 for “Grief”, and it’s flat 7 for “Garbage”.

Ron Nagle, Conniption at Modern Art ★★★★★

Ron Nagle

Conniption

★★★★★

Less is more, as the saying goes. Nagle’s porcelain and resin maquettes are the bare minimum.

Christo, Early Works at Gagosian Open ★★★★☆

Christo

Early Works

★★★★☆

To appreciate Christo’s early works against his wishes, one must forget his later stunts.

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