basel

View of “Pavilionesque,” 2013. Foreground, from left: Pavilionesque, 2013; Toda-miracle in children’s language, 2013; Chatka, Children’s Imagination, a Box, 2013. Background, from left: Groteska I, 2013; Krajské Bábkové divadlo v Rabce-Zdrój, 2013; The Foyer, Rabcio Puppet Theater, Rabka-Zdrój, Poland, 2013; Shadows Madly Alive I.–V., 2012. Photo: Serge Hasenböhler.

Paulina Olowska

Kunsthalle Basel

View of “Pavilionesque,” 2013. Foreground, from left: Pavilionesque, 2013; Toda-miracle in children’s language, 2013; Chatka, Children’s Imagination, a Box, 2013. Background, from left: Groteska I, 2013; Krajské Bábkové divadlo v Rabce-Zdrój, 2013; The Foyer, Rabcio Puppet Theater, Rabka-Zdrój, Poland, 2013; Shadows Madly Alive I.–V., 2012. Photo: Serge Hasenböhler.

STYLE NEVER REALLY GOES OUT OF STYLE. Paulina Olowska knows this. She also knows resurrection—its rules and its rust—which she uses as a speculative tool, invoking a litany of historical, elegant forebears, mostly women (finally and thank God). But in order to resurrect something, a stage must be set, a room prepared and fixed. And the rooms in which we make our way and our work—bars, studies, studios, theaters, parlors—have long occupied the Polish artist (or she has occupied them). Take her 2004 exhibition “She Had to Discard the Idea of the House as a Metaphor,” at Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany, with its salon-style séance of female modernists. Or consider this summer’s exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel, curated by Adam Szymczyk, which conjured—via Olowska’s pointedly elliptical methods and media—the history of modern Polish puppet theater.

Olowska’s

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