Zofia Stryjeńska, “Bożki słowiańskie”, 1918 (kolejne teki 1922, 1934)

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Paulina Olowska revisits the work of Zofia Stryjeńska—exploring the visionary Polish artist’s notion of ballet as a “wreath of ceremonies,” and designing costumes after her 1918 painting series Bożki słowiańskie (Slavic Deities) that was based on Slavic folklore and mythology. Katy Pyle, Artistic Director of theBallez, will be working with Jules Skloot, Lindsay Reuter, Mei Yamanaka, Janet Werther,Madison Krekel, and Charles Gowin to personify Stryjeńska’s goddesses in solos that reactivate classic folk steps. An original score by Sergei Tcherepnin will mix cosmic sounds together with traditional Mazurkas, Polkas, and Oberkas, as well as spiritual disco. Lighting design by Madeline Best with inspirational quotes of Zofia Stryjeńska and Paulina Olowska. Curated by Katy Dammers and Tim Griffin.


Here ascreen-shot-2016-12-29-at-4-58-37-amre the lithographs that Zofia Stryjeńska created of the Slavic gods Światowit, Dziedzilię, Radegast, Triglav, Weather, Svarog from Radogoszcz, Boh, marzanka, Warwas Rügen, Dydka, Veles, Kupala, Lubin, Tits and Lelum. The myths of the Slavs go back thousands of years, but unlike the Greeks their stories were not written down until roughly the 6th century AD. As these myths and stories were gathered, Perun was the most prominent of the Slavic gods. A Byzantine historian Procopius was the first to record the triumphs of Perun as his exploits were mostly known by Slavs who lived in the eastern sections of Europe. Interestingly enough, Slavs who lived in the western areas of Europe did not mention Perun directly by name, but there are plenty of references that indicate Perun was well known in their mythology as well.

By 980, Prince Vladimir the Great erected five statues of pagan gods as his palace in Kiev with Perun being the most prominent among them. From there, the mythology of Perun became more well known as stories developed over the centuries when Slavs began coalescing their power in Russia and Eastern Europe. From there, the stories of Perun as well as statues began appearing across Eastern Europe and Russia which lasted unabated for a short time until the arrival of the Christian faith.

About Zofia Stryjeńskascreen-shot-2016-12-29-at-4-57-39-am
Zofia Stryjeńska was born May 13, 1891 in Kraków and died  in  Geneva in 1976 in Geneva. She was a  Polish painter, graphic designer, illustrator, stage designer and  a representative of Art Deco. Along with Olga Boznańska and Tamara de Lempicka, she was one of the best-known Polish women artists of the interwar period. In the 1930s she was nominated for the prestigious Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature, but declined the offer. 

Stryjeńska was part of the art group “Rytm” (rhythm). She may also have been influenced by Young Poland (Młoda Polska), a stylistically diverse art movement active between 1890 and 1918. She mainly used the tempera technique, producing lithographs, drawings, posters, designing toys, tapestry, stage sets, stage costumes and making book illustrations. Among her best known works are: pastorale, Slavic Idols cycle and Passover, as well as illustrations of the poem “Monachomachii” by Bishop Krasicki, Seasons, Christmas Carols, Four Polish Dances, and the Sacraments.

She made part of the decoration of the Polish pavilion at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925, a series of six paintings for the twelve months, showing rural village life and seasonal change. This work brought her Europe-wide fame and five World Trade awards. She made a series of paintings depicting Polish folk dance artists in 1927. In many works, she depicting the pre-Christian Slavic gods worshipped in Poland. However, the artist herself always considered herself a Christian. She was raised as a Catholic, but converted for a short time to the Evangelical Church in order to divorce and remarry. Her fascination with the beliefs of ancient Slavs should be regarded as an artistic interest only.

About Paulina Olowska
Paulina Olowska (born 1976) is a Polish artist who lives and works in Rabka-Zdroj, Poland. She is known for her paintings, sculptures, performances, and collages, most of which are inspired by remembrance and nostalgia. She studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1996), Fine Arts Academy in Gdańsk (2000), and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

About The Kitchen
The Kitchen is one of New York City’s oldest nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. Programs range from dance, music, performance, and theater, to video, film, and art, in addition to literary events, artists’ talks, and lecture series. Since its inception, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of this country, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who have gone on to worldwide prominence.

websiteimage_horizontal_forwebPaulina Olowska: Slavic Goddresses — A Wreath of Ceremonies runs from January 26th thru January 28th at The Kitchen. Text source: Wikipedia, Culture.pl, The Kitchen

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