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:

Tommy Camerno, Delirious at Filet ★★☆☆☆

Tommy Camerno

Delirious

★★☆☆☆

What’s left of the show are stage props that feed adolescent imaginations with false memories of the long-finished party.

Gray Wielebinski, The Red Sun is High, the Blue Low at ICA ★☆☆☆☆

Gray Wielebinski

The Red Sun is High, the Blue Low

★☆☆☆☆

I knew that it was possible to understand art and life less after seeing an exhibition. I didn’t, however, imagine that experiencing Wielebinski’s work twice would only compound such damage.

The Otolith Group, I See Infinite Distance Between Any Point and Another at greengrassi ★★☆☆☆

The Otolith Group

I See Infinite Distance Between Any Point and Another

★★☆☆☆

The exhibition is a private memorial for Etel Adnan accessible only to members of the art world’s inner circle. And that’s a pity.

Entangled Pasts at The Royal Academy ★★☆☆☆

Entangled Pasts, 1768–now

★★☆☆☆

Who could have thought that these mantras would turn into rote?

Hannah Tilson, Soft Cut at Cedric Bardawil ★★☆☆☆

Hannah Tilson

Soft Cut

★★☆☆☆

Tilson’s styled self-portraits are an affectation that will take many years of practice to pay off.

Atiéna R Kilfa, Primitive Tales, at Cabinet ★☆☆☆☆

Atiéna R. Kilfa

Primitive Tales

★☆☆☆☆

An uninspired re-staging of the artist’s Camden Arts Centre show.

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