Karolina Wojtas. The Premortem Exhibition

• Vernissage: 8 December at 6 pm. The exhibition will be open until 11 February 2024.

We invite all English-speaking art lovers to the curatorial guided tour through the show Karolina Wojtas. The Premortem Exhibition. Join us on Wednesday, 17 January 2024 at 6 p.m., addmission free.

• Curators: Marta Miś, Magda Wolnicka

Karolina Wojtas is alive. And she is in top form, although death has been a prominent feature in her work for some time now. The Premortem Exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Opole is not limited to the artist’s latest photographic series. This is the first such extensive (after the museum in Pełkinie) exhibition of her work, bringing together fragments of various projects. Could a monographic exhibition be the kiss of death for this young artist? We hope not...

Photography is Karolina Wojtas’s primary medium and the starting point for all her creative projects. This being said, her exhibitions are anything but even rows of framed photographs hanging on the wall. Karolina Wojtas does not care for the ‘white cube’ aesthetic. Instead, she admits to living in a colourful world of experimentation and endless amusement. Her work reflects that. While creating her series of artworks, Karolina Wojtas inscribes photographs within installations, supplementing them with videos and various objects – both of her own creation and those found. She stages not only the sets captured inside her photographs but also the entire space around them and the viewing experience. In her wildest ideas, she is assisted by those closest to her – her younger brother Kuba, who remains in the midst of the action, and her grandfather Stanisław, who creates the objects on display. This is because photography is converted into objects in her artistic projects – objects which can be experienced and touched and ones which cause amusement, laughter or fear.

The Premortem Exhibition allows the viewer to enter the artist’s world – to get to know her not only as a photographer but, above all, as a visual artist who transforms the reality around us using her wit and extraordinary sense of humour. Apprehensions, fantasies, recollections, stories of unhappy love, old photos or absurd images from the internet – in her world, anything can become an inspiration. Visitors to the Contemporary Art Gallery in Opole will have an opportunity to see various series and fragments of installations, which will be shown on all levels of the gallery. The artist took on the challenge of deconstructing her creations, placing them side by side in different configurations. The minimalist yet oppressive labyrinth of old school cloakrooms depicted in the Abzgram project is contrasted with a stark pink room, where a sentimental wooden horse from family photographs stands next to a card table, ready for a Tinder game of Black Peter. One of Karolina Wojtas’s best-known series We can’t live without each other found its place in the intermedia room located in the basement of the gallery, which now resembles a cosy family hellhole, while the ground floor houses her latest funerary project – a collage of photos entitled Death of Karolina Wojtas, designed in the form of an altar, and photographic objects from the series Why are all songs about love?.

Karolina Wojtas’s art is thoroughly contemporary, steeped in Instagram aesthetics and youthful fantasy despite being baroquely uninhibited. Playing on the popular opinion that people are afraid of contemporary art, we encourage visitors to awaken their inner child and immerse themselves in the exhibition in the same way they would enjoy funfair attractions. Every corner offers something frightening, surprising or pleasing. This exhibition takes visitors on a journey, enveloped in absurdity, through their memories of childhood and their experiences of adulthood. It acts as a crooked mirror, which can be used for self-reflection or to publish an Insta Story.

Karolina Wojtas (born in 1996)

– photographer, graduate of the Film School in Łódź and the Czech Institute of Creative Photography in Opava. She took part in numerous solo and collective exhibitions both in Poland and abroad, including: Foam in Amsterdam (2021), Noorderlicht International Photo Festival (2020), Galeria Naga in Warsaw (2020), and Month of Photography in Bratislava (2019). Her work was published in The Guardian, The British Journal of Photography, Vogue Polska, Szum, and Wysokie Obcasy, to list a few.