If you only know the name of one crochet artist then there is a good chance that it’s Olek. Her signature camouflage crochet has been seen everywhere in New York from the streets to the galleries. Now she’s going international with the debut of her first London crochet art show.
True to form, Olek’s new exhibit has a thought-provoking name. The exhibit, which is located at Tony’s Gallery in London, is called “I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone”. The exhibit opens with a reception on January 26, 2012 and will continue through March 23rd.
The Iconic Piece
Everyone loves to latch on to a big iconic piece when looking at Olek’s work. Just say Wall Street Bull and most crocheters will know what I mean. In this case, the iconic piece is a crochet-covered black cab that represents the fact that the artist has been living and working alone in London for the first time.
Crocheted Text Messages and The Role Words Play
Photo via Village Voice
One of the reasons that I am especially drawn to Olek as a crochet artist is because she’s doing something different with her use of text in her work. Not many crocheters use words in their work. It’s all about the visuals. And I don’t think that Olek disappoints with the visuals – she’s got a catchy style of colorful crochet – but I think that she takes her work in a really neat direction by adding words. I love text-based art. I think words add new levels of nuance, meaning and interest to a piece. And I think Olek is actually a really poetic gal based on some of her quotes from various articles.
What Olek has done with this exhibit is that she’s crocheted text messages and emails that she herself has really received. She takes the words of others and places them out of context giving the viewer an interesting, but incomplete, intimate look into her life. It’s fascinating. It plays to the voyeur in each of us and requires the artist to take the risk of opening herself up to us as viewers of her work.
The Bigger Picture
I think it’s worth nothing that Olek says that this “is not just another apartment installation; it is the reflection of life, love, trust, and lust in current times”. Just like with her New York Exhibit, Knitting Is For Pussies, Olek created this display by actually living in the gallery and filling it with her crocheted works of art inspired by all of the information coming into her life from media and other channels. More specifically, the content of this exhibit is designed to give us insight into Olek’s role as a female artist. At first glance, it looks like it’s just a detailed picture of one person’s life but when you look closer you see how these pieces are a statement on modern life today. It’s about her life but her life is opened up to the public so we can compare it to our own.
Words from the Art World
Here’s a snippet of what Tony’s Gallery has to say about Olek’s work which I think you’ll find interesting if you’re drawn to the art world perspective on things:
“Her practice has the striking quality of presenting a double-edged approach whereby the initial impact is colorful, enchanting and almost cartoon-like and yet under this camouflaged skin lies a complex and subversive metaphor for the world as she sees it. She instigates a dialogue between fiction and reality by carefully playing with our ambivalent perception of her work.
The performative nature of her work is an essential element within her practice, from the time-consuming and laborious act of crocheting on immense scales to her active and impromptu positioning of objects in the street as well as her use of participating performers who, dressed in crocheted suits, are part of her environments. This notion of performance instigates an interaction between the artist and viewer who inadvertently takes part in her work either by discovering her objects or by ultimately being positioned within her artistic context.”
Did You Know?
That Olek was named one of the most important artists of 2011? I just learned that! Awesome.
I’ve got to ask … are you an Olek fan? It seems like many crocheters either love her or hate her …
News Source: Village Voice