Rising up in Lublin, Poland, Agnieszka Polska had little entry to up to date artwork. So a go to to the Tate Trendy on a visit to London as a youngster, she stated, was “a revelation.”
20 years later, Ms. Polska is an artist and filmmaker whose video works have been featured at establishments just like the Museum of Trendy Artwork (MoMA) in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof, the place in 2018 she was awarded the Preis der Nationalgalerie.
However she continues to be influenced by that go to to the Tate Trendy, notably one piece she noticed, Bruce Nauman’s video “Good Boy Dangerous Boy” (1985).
“It’s a work about how artwork can have an effect on the viewer, about how highly effective artwork is and the way it may be used for good and dangerous causes, good and dangerous practices,” stated Ms. Polska, 37. “I bear in mind this sense of not having the ability to perceive what it was about and I couldn’t determine the place it belonged.”
In her personal artwork, Ms. Polska has delved into that very same sense of being each drawn in and disconcerted. Her video works are deeply hypnotic, with a powerful concentrate on historic occasions or moments.
She works principally in movie. Her first characteristic movie, “Hurrah, We Are Nonetheless Alive!” a few group of actors vying to work with a charismatic director, was launched in 2020 and he or she has just lately completed the script for her second characteristic, which takes place in nineteenth century Australia.
However she has additionally created transferring sculptures for 2 solo exhibits this month targeted across the French historian Fernand Braudel’s opposition to the concept that historical past runs on a linear timeline.
Her London-based gallery, Union Pacific, featured her in a solo present “Braudel’s Clocks” at Frieze London, whereas from the identical physique of labor her Warsaw-based gallery, Dawid Radziszewski, will likely be presenting her sculptures in a solo present at Paris+ this week. Early subsequent yr she will likely be directing a theater piece for Lisbon’s Biennial of Modern Arts (BoCA).
“Polska desires her sculptures to merge contradictory imagery powered by humor and melancholy,” Nigel Dunkley, the director of Union Pacific, wrote in an electronic mail about “Braudel’s Clocks,” a set of six spinning clock-like sculptures that have been developed by layering round prints on laser lower aluminum and acrylglas. He added that the hypnotic high quality to her works, “is a results of her engagement with affective applied sciences, in addition to immersive storytelling.”
That deep connection to storytelling goes again to her childhood in post-Communist Poland, the place her father was an engineer and her mom studied artwork historical past. She cherished how tales unfolded in books and on movie. She stated that to this present day, as soon as she begins a narrative — from a heady work of literature to a nasty romance novel — she has to complete it.
Poland’s wealthy cinematic traditions additionally influenced her, specifically the works of the director Andrzej Zulawski. “There’s a sure emotional expression of the actor that’s current in Polish movie,” she stated, “I discover that very intriguing.”
Japanese animation was additionally an inspiration. “I used to be fascinated by all the probabilities that you’ve got in animation; you’re all the time answerable for the picture,” she stated. “On the identical time, you possibly can obtain the whole lot that isn’t doable in conventional cinema.”
She accomplished her M.F.A. at Krakow’s Jan Matejko Academy of Wonderful Arts and, after a year-long trade at Universität der Künste in Berlin (the place she at the moment lives), she did postgraduate research on the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.
At 23 she began working with the now-defunct Berlin gallery Zak Branicka in addition to with a Krakow gallery, ArtPol, the place she first got here throughout Mr. Radziszewski.
“There are a lot of fascinating elements in Agnieszka’s work,” Mr. Radziszewski wrote in an electronic mail. “However what I feel goes consistent with this system of the gallery is how she appears to be like at historical past, referencing the previous and manipulating it by obstructing the idea of time.”
Misal Adnan Yıldız, the co-director of Germany’s Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, the place Ms. Polska’s work was featured earlier this yr within the exhibition “State and Nature,” stated that the best way she chronicles occasions by means of her artwork is much like the Spanish artist Francisco Goya.
“I see a really shut connection between her work and portray historical past when it comes to portraiture,” he stated. “The story of that individual will not be a private story and it’s extra a common story, it’s literature.”
“The Demon’s Mind” is an effective instance of this. For a multichannel video set up she created for the Hamburger Banhof, the story is targeted round salt mining in fifteenth century Poland; the mineral was a precious commodity and a supply of wealth for the nation.
It imagines letters addressed to the supervisor of the mines and the journey of a younger man who’s dispatched on horseback to ship them. He will get misplaced within the forest and encounters a demon who launches right into a soliloquy that mixes Christian concepts with fashionable issues round environmental destruction, useful resource consumption and synthetic intelligence.
Sven Beckstette, a curator on the museum who sat on the jury for the prize and later curated her solo present there, stated at first he discovered her submission — “The New Solar” (2017) — for the prize to be stuffed with apparent ethical platitudes.
“I used to be like, ‘I don’t purchase this’, that was my first impression,” he stated. Nevertheless, when he took a better look, “I understood you need to get by means of all these clichés which are in there. That work could be very a lot about manipulating your feelings.”
Enjoying with the viewers’s emotions is one other sturdy thread by means of her oeuvre.
“There’s a normal high quality of my work that I attempt to create this sensation of being on the identical time immersed and disassociated,” she stated. “I all the time make the viewer understand that it is rather straightforward to govern them into feeling sure feelings.”
Maria Lind, who because the curator of Gwangju Biennale in 2016, which featured one among Ms. Polska’s works, stated that she is a outstanding picture maker. Ms. Polska is an artist, “who can seize our visible consideration with out being spectacular or bombastic.”