Artist Paulina Olowska presents a site-specific theatre performance within Tate Modern’s collection displays. ‘The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue’ is an adaptation of avant-garde playwright Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz’s play from 1924. The story takes place in a bourgeois setting in which hallucinations, schizophrenia, alcoholism, madness and drug addiction turn into surrealist mayhem. Two professional actors play the role of the mother and the son, while Olowska’s friends and collaborators take on characters including the maid, the prostitute, the aristocratic party boy and the suspicious individual.
Olowska transforms a room in the Poetry and Dream collection display into the theatre set which is open during the day as an installation. The room becomes a domestic interior inhabited by works by artists including Meredith Frampton, Dora Carrington and Henri Matisse and shows Olowska’s continued interest in the appropriation of histories and the function of painting as a fictional space.
About the artist
Working in painting, performance, installation and curating, Paulina Olowska’s work often focuses on forgotten figures of feminism, minor histories, and popular aesthetics, quoting period fashion photography, agitprop posters, graffiti, periodicals, and signage. She recently had solo projects and exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Kunsthalle Basel and Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw (2014) and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2013). She lives in Krakow, Poland.
She and the artist Bonnie Camplin presented Usher We at Tate Modern in 2008 in The Tanks, and Olowska’s film Welcome to the Exhibition (2005) was screened as part of the symposium Performance Year Zero: A Living History in The Tanks, Tate Modern in 2012.
Commissioned and produced as part of Corpus, network for performance practice. Corpus is Bulegoa z/b (Bilbao), CAC Vilnius, KW (Berlin), If I Can’t Dance (Amsterdam), Playground (STUK & M, Leuven), and Tate Modern (London; as part of BMW Tate Live). Corpus is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.