Art and Culture: Forming Poland’s Identity

By Tatum Spicer

EU Citizenship Specialist at Polaron European Services

There are so many ways to immerse yourself in Polish culture- you can read literature, watch films, listen to music or visit an art gallery. Last month the Heide Musuem of Modern Art, just outside of Melbourne, showcased work by the Berlin-based Polish artist, Agnieszka Polska.

Polska is a modern Polish artist who is known for digitally manipulating pre-existing images to create new work. Much of her work focuses on Poland’s lost times or the half-forgotten figures of the Polish avant-garde art movement. As Poland did not exist as a state until 1918, art and literature have been particularly important components to forming Poland’s cultural and linguistic identity.

Even today art continues to preserve Poland’s patriotic and cultural patterns through metaphor and symbolism. Agnieszka Polska continues on this path with her own art which uses a method of animation and photo collage. She employs facial recognition software, CGI, photographic textures and effects to manipulate and animate her sources.

Polska’s animations encompass a new kind of technologically arbitrated vision, reflecting our growing entanglement with the digital world. Her visual language also makes reference to the lives we inhabit online, such as our culture of emojis, gifs and memes that have become the symbolic currency of our new modes of communication.

The New Sun features an immersive projection of the sun personified as an animated character. Broadly exploring society’s shared experiences of environmental and humanitarian catastrophe, Polska’s benevolent sun bears witness to the growing threats of global calamity. The sun produces a compassionate connection with the audience via its simulated human emotions.

The narrative of The New Sun brings together both poetry and popular comedy routines with ideas from quantum theory. The narrative moves seamlessly between cosmic, historical and subjective tones. The suggestion is that for Polska, reality is a multiple and complex mechanism that can be understood from various distinct perspectives or from several at once.

By exploring Polska’s art, we can understand the modern Polish landscape through the eyes of the artist. View Polaska’s work, The New Sun, here.


Reference: Curator Brooke Babington