read the news // live the culture
The Upcoming | Read the news // Live the culture
Thursday 30th October 2014
Menu

Don’t miss out – street artist Olek crochets an entire room

  Tuesday 6th March 2012
  Tuesday 6th March 2012

If the first thing springing to your mind at the word ‘exhibition’ is paintings or photographs, endless captions to read or ancient stuff to peruse, street artist Olek will revolutionise your thinking in less than a second. From the rainy roads and hostile puddles of Brick Lane, walking into Tony’s Gallery is like jumping into a different reality – one that will then sweep you off your feet. More literally, you will find your shoeless feet on a dream-like carpet of crocheted colours.

Olek’s crocheted room at Tony’s Gallery

I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone is the title of the latest work by Polish-born Agata Oleksiak, which is also her first solo exhibition in the UK. Olek has been listed in The 25 most important artist of 2011 by Complex Media Network and her work has already appeared worldwide. The installation has a remarkably peculiar title, which is a direct quote from I do not expect, an appliquéd blanket produced by British artist Tracey Emin in 2002.

“A loop after a loop. Hour after hour my madness becomes crochet. Life and art are inseparable.” This is how Olek defines her art, a laborious work of crocheting on both monumental and small everyday objects. The room in Tony’s Gallery counts plenty of household stuff, such as a bed and pillows, a basin, a telephone, and picture frames among many others.

A crocheted rolling pin

But there is a lot more in this cartoon-like world that needs be explored on a much deeper level: the majority of Olek’s objects carry meaningful texts and enigmatic lines (including SMS messages and emails), all of which she has crocheted together for a mind-blowing effect.

The crocheted text of an email on the wall

The four walls of the room shout passion, femininity, tenderness and love but also suggest anger, anxiety and frustration at some of the most central topics and dilemmas of our time. Pregnancy, motherhood and intimacy are all main themes; as she writes on her blog: “It is the reflection of life, love, trust and lust in current times. It is the progression of my life as a woman…blood, sweats and tears and cum camouflaged with the sparkle of my colourful cheeky humour, as we all do when carrying on with our lives.”

One of the most fascinating crocheted sculpture in the room is the one of Olek herself: she sits on a chair in front of the telephone, carefully positioned beside a framed picture of her lover, which gave me the feeling of the painful yet full-of-hope wait for a call that is about to arrive – or perhaps never will.

A crocheted Olek

This is why I believe this exhibition is one that will stay in your thoughts for a long time: not only is it visually wonderful but it is also just so personal that aims straight to your heart. All the sensations this room gives you are connected to many of the experiences we’ve all had at some point or another in our lives, and as you amble around the room you soon realise that by being in it, you have yourself become part of it too.

At the gallery you will also have the pleasure to meet Anya, the friendly curator who welcomes you at the door and answers all the questions you might have about Olek’s art – and believe me, you will have plenty.

I will have sex in this room – an attempt to reunite the split between erotic and maternal identities of a woman.

I am the woman you don’t have to worry about – message on the chair on which the woman in the centre of the installation is sitting.  We see how she is trying to reject the fear of abandonment.

This incredible room, created exclusively for this street art gallery, will be up for you to explore anytime between now and 23rd March (closed Monday- Tuesday)

As Olek herself recommends: “Dress to the occasion. Don’t bring any sharp objects…and if you ask me how long it took me to crochet it, you’ll have to bring a bottle of Polish vodka to unravel the secret.”

(But Olek is currently in NYC, so Anya spilled the beans: the room took her half a year of crocheting.)

More information on this free exhibition can be found here.

Francesca Cacciarru

Photos: Ola Zur

[slideshow]


More about the author


Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

DEC launches unprecedented Ebola aid appeal as death toll surpasses 4,500
DEC launches unprecedented Ebola aid appeal as death toll surpasses 4,500

An unprecedented aid appeal has been launched by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) after the group announced it [read more]

Jonah and Otto at the Park | Theatre review
Jonah and Otto at the Park

Jonah and Otto is a new play by established playwright Robert Holman,. It’s an exploration of loneliness, loss [read more]

The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess | Theatre review
The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess

The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society have, due to a clerical error, taken over the Duchess Theatre for their [read more]

Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter | Theatre review
Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter

“They seek him here, they seek him there, in Regent Street, and Leicester Square”; as a Londoner, sat in the West [read more]

Notes from Underground at The Print Room | Theatre review
Notes from Underground at The Print Room

Imagine old musty philosophical musings written and performed with a kind of introverted g-force that winds its [read more]

Archives