The malleability and softness of objects is at the heart of Paula Smolarska’s practice. Her work is a result of a process driven exploration focused on the inherent physical properties and subsequent pliability of materials such as plastic, rubber, vinyl and latex.

Tactile contact with these materials reminds Smolarska of a feeling of wearing her own skin on her body. Responding with empathy and curiosity towards that peculiar experience, Smolarska engages in performative, playful and metaphorical activities. In one of them she first applied pigmented latex onto a glass window, peeled it off and then repositioned it. In another piece she continually compressed and stretched vinyl bellow of a foot pump.

The resulting artwork is either a direct bi-product of the performative process or a fabricated sculpture cast from this bi-product.

In her pieces Smolarska uses colours in monochromatic and dichromatic manners to employ their immersive power to transport the viewer into the realm of the psychological and subconscious. She poses questions about the origin and authorship of the performative activity and its meaning.

Her piece Pump [2013] is a bronze cast of a bellow of a foot pump. Originally made of vinyl, Smolarska froze the object in a position between inflate and deflate revealing its folds and creases. She then took a mould off it and used lost-wax process to cast it in bronze.

October 2013