Ewelina Kolaczek



Ewelina Kolaczek Performance

Copyright: Tom Medwell

About Ewelina Kolaczek

I am a Polish-American, London-based multi-medium artist with a focus on glass sculpture, performance and live installations. If fact my work intentionally eludes confinement to a specific medium trying to force people to look beyond form and use art as an excuse to experience and test a complex bundle of emotions and thoughts.

Each artwork has a core theme/thought/emotion which then becomes a focus point for an object, performance or installation as a point of tension between what things are and how we perceive them. The main themes my work explores – memory, identity, subconsciousness and inter-human relationships – all share a continually transforming, fluid and shifting nature. Each realised work is always somehow caught between – poised on – the moment a memory becomes something that is just remembered. You can never capture these moments of possibility – it is essential, their strength, that they escape finality.

Elusiveness is a crucial element inherent already in the design process. It allows each artwork to take new shape and meaning depending on how and where a piece is shown and who is seeing it. The technical sensory design and the viewer’s own eyes frame a work differently from hour to hour as their experience, and the baggage they bring, is moulded and remoulded. This fluidity of experiencing makes room for and mirrors the cycle of construction and dissolution of the themes themselves. Every single piece I create requires the viewer’s stillness and concentration to be fully experienced.

My work has been presented at, amongst others, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Turner Musuem of Glass, Display Gallery London, Debut Contemporary, Vitrine Gallery, Cuppola gallery, The independent Artist’s Fair as well as at platforms such as Fierce!, Live Art Falmouth, New Moves (Glasgow), YaYW7 (Bristol) and Practice @Made in Somerset.


A little bit more about the work:

Myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely then does science. Sciences work with averages which are far too general to do justice to the subjective variety of an individual life.
C.G. Jung

For me art makes this “myth” tangible. With the right recipe of things like image, sound, smell, touch, cultural and other signifiers, a certain type of magic happens. With the best of art the viewer is transported into their own mind and/or pure experience of something that informs, challenges, brings catharsis, brings a new unexpected understanding and/or all of these.

In my work I experiment, challenge and look for new understandings of the following interests:

  • identity
  • memory
  • tension between what things are and how we perceive them (polysemousness)
  • presence vs. absence
  • freedom vs. entrapment vs. freedom in entrapment

I am curious just how much of something we really see and just how we see it depending on 2 main points of reference:

The circumstances of experiencing an artwork – light, colour, shape, texture, transparency, tactility, size… loudness, motion, body… within the artwork itself and how/where the piece is shown.

The second – our own assumptions and baggage and our everyday experience that we bring to how we see an artwork.

I experiment with how these work against and in conjunction with each other. What happens if I manipulate both circumstances – so try and tap into something that is almost certainly a part of a known experience and/or object for the viewer and then play with it?

To give a few examples: you can experience the above fascination through The Found Series. In Please, the piece plays on the tension between the actual history of the everyday object – a specific bedpost of a specific time, place, class, size…; the connection the viewer has with the general idea of a bedpost – the memories of bedposts through various stages of your own life; the image that has been etched into it – so the imposed history/narrative imprinted on the object that in itself is only present through the imprint and not the actual person and thus is also just a memory; and the smell the object emits – the smell of spices and natural oils that evoke a different set of memories … What does how we interpret all these in unison tell us about who we are and what the memories have left behind?

Another play with the presence of things even though or because of them no longer being there can be found in the glass pieces Bird Untitled 1 & 2 (either/both pieces with legs). The objects are no longer there and yet they are completely or even more present in our minds.

Similarly with Cutting, which plays with how much we actually remember and what has simply “become” a memory with time, perspective and how others have related it to us (how they remembered it). What is the dust and hair we leave behind. How does that structure the “me” that remains the “me” of now.

In Breath/e I experiment with what happens if you blur a person’s identity but manipulate the circumstance with smell and sound influencing the viewers’ emotions whilst experiencing the work. The body is trapped and very present but free to be whatever it thinks itself to be or what we impose with our own interpretation on to it.