Saturday, 11 August 2018

Grace, Charles and the Sunflower by Paulina Olowska at Invisible Wind Factory as part of Liverpool Biennial

I find that part of the fun of going to Biennials is that there are usually a number of artworks situated in places one has never been. It is a great way to discover new parts of a city and to meet different communities. Much of the 2018 Liverpool Biennial takes place in established creative institutions in the heart of the city. It was as I was flicking through the pages of the Biennial programme that I came across an unfamiliar venue, namely Invisible Wind Factory. The colourful image immediately caught my eye and I decided to hunt it down.
As I consulted the Bienniale guide, I realised that the Invisible Wind Factory was off the map. Thankfully, aided by googlemaps and my sense of direction, I meandered my way through industrial estates, past a medley of dated and run-down pubs and found myself at a rather curious red-brick building that was closed! 

It had been quite a trek, especially in the heat of the afternoon, so was a little annoyed that I couldn't go inside to see the art. But then I re-read the blurb in the brochure to find out that the artwork at this venue is an outdoor mural. I found it difficult to see properly as it was quite high up on the building. I was disappointed by the full mural and thought that the detail image in the brochure glorified the actual artwork. It felt like a let down, but I'm eager to find out what goes on in the building.

'Grace, Charles and the Sunflower is a new mosaic by Paulina Olowska that references the socialist belief that through the creation of a public work one can influence and present optimistic visions of a better world. The artist’s idea is based on a Polish mosaic from the 1960s situated on the side of a public school in the village of Raba Zdroj, where Olowska lives. Despite its history, the mosaic remains unprotected and unmaintained: this kind of popular, public, post-soviet art is no longer favoured by the Polish government and there is a strong possibility that it will be demolished in the future. By presenting a similar mosaic in Liverpool, Olowska champions the value of these works and suggests that they should be protected as part of the country’s national heritage.'
For any visitors to the Biennial wanting to check out the artwork for themselves, please note thathis work by Paulina Olowska is currently undergoing repair following adverse weather conditions. The central panel will be reinstated as soon as possible. Check the Liverpool Biennial website for updates.

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