The ninth Preis der Nationalgalerie was awarded in the autumn of 2017 to Agnieszka Polska (born 1985 in Lublin). The award recipient’s works will be presented in an extensive solo exhibition in 2018, accompanied by a publication.
In the animation films by Agnieszka Polska we encounter an encrypted adaptation of cultural artefacts. Her references, however, originate neither from the distant past nor from high culture. Rather, her image collage is an encrypted inventory of the present that evokes the collective unconscious called the World Wide Web. Pervaded by an unsettling undertone, Polka’s films address the state of today’s world and our role and responsibility within it in a poetic and personal manner.
The Preis der Nationalgalerie is made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie and is supported by BMW.
Polska creates video works employing mainly found material, such as
archive photography and illustrations, which she subjects to subtle
interventions, whether animating them or working them into the existing
image. In the process, the artist changes their primary context,
simultaneously creating illusions of documentation. She investigates the
impact of documentation on its future reception. Her visually powerful
explorations of lost times or half-forgotten figures of the Polish
avant-garde, turn to how the past is fictionalised and re-worked. Her
animated videos evoke a sense of melancholia, and a longing for
something that perhaps never was, but which she makes real at least on
film. In an interview with Art Review, Polska said that, 'Slow,
unnaturally calm movements are present in most of my videos. I mainly
work with animated film so a meditative, contemplative quality is
present also in the process of production, which is very important for
me. Each project needs a lot of time and concentration (for viewer and
maker)'. As Polska says, Misunderstandings or erroneous interpretations are all factors, which
push art forward creating new values and posing new questions. An
archive - as every living organism - is alive and subject to incessant
change, forever multiplying images of itself. The elements negated and
rejected during the process of archivisation, later appear as the dark
matter of our subconsciousness. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, studying in
Agata Pankiewicz’s photography studio (2005 - 2010) and from the
Universitaet der Kunste Berlin in the class of Hito Steyerl (2008 -
2009). Today she is represented by the Żak/ Branicka Gallery in Berlin.
She first began exhibiting her works in Kraków in 2007. She has
exhibited across Europe and in the United States, most recently at the
Calvert 22 Gallery in London. The series Medical Gymnastics (2008), old
photographs moved and stretched illustrating an old gymnastics manual
(an animated film) and photographs from a book about children
gymnastics, created by removing clothes of the exercising girls with
Photoshop (a series of graphics). The Calendar (2008),
an animated film based on photographs from German newspapers of the
1930s, shows the tranquil landscape and sounds of nature constantly
disrupted by the buzzing of flies, introducing surrealistic accents.