International Artists’ Residency, Castellón Province, Spain (PARC) Autumn 2018

Paula Smolarska
Atzeneta del Maestrat
Process pieces from the artist's residency at Hospitalfield, Scotland, September 2018. Images: Courtesy of the artist.

“The hips don’t lie” by Paula Smolarska Part 2

Paula Smolarska is our Autumn PARC artist-in-residence.

A text written during Part 1 about a fictional character called Bigbutt serves as a starting point and a leitmotiv for Paula’s Autumn Part 2 residency.

The hips, a point of focus in the text, call for the history of sculpture to make an appearance. Through the reference to the classical Greek idea of contrapposto, an important invention in the history of sculpture, the idea of movement is introduced here. Contrapposto suggests a figure is capable of movement. It is achieved through the misalignment of shoulder, hip and ankle axes. The body in contrapposto is not symmetrical; one part is shorter and the other extended. The skin stretches on the body and the fabric drapes over adjusting to it. Paula is interested in how the idea of movement in sculpture ties in with the body.

The Bigbutt character is a useful device for Paula to think through ideas related to the body and its various states of materiality. In the text, the character is seen making a stable tripod position during a tai-chi-like exercise and disintegrates into heavy liquid at a later stage. Paula will take the character with her as a companion and a muse for her residency.

At PARC Part 2, Paula will be make a temporary installation of objects out of fabric and a series of armatures. The fabric and armatures will go through a process of taking on and discarding specific forms. This exploration started during her recent residency at Hospitalfield, Scotland, where she made a series of armatures to support a fabric object, in a variety of materials, as part of the process of constructing an object. This process of making, undoing and remaking ended with none of the armatures being used in a functional sense. They were left leaning at the side of the room whilst the fabric object became nothing more than a pile of stitched dust cloths collapsed. For the artist, this exercise revealed the relationship between duration, movement and form. She will continue this investigation and its relationship to the body in the new works produced at PARC.

Paula Smolarska (b.Poland) received her MA in Sculpture from Royal College of Art in 2017. Her exhibitions include When I held you in my arms…, UCA Farnham (2018), In Response to Joachim Koester, Camden Art Centre (2017), VR Days, Amsterdam (2017), The Lounger Lover, The Faker, The Ikea Expert, Passen-gers (2016), ECA, Scotland (2016). Residencies include Sail Britain (2017) and Florence Trust (2014). A new publication including Smolarska’s work with a writer’s text has just come out by Passen-gers.Image courtesy and copyright of the artist.

‘The fabric and armatures will go through a process of taking on and discarding fixed forms.’

Pangaea Artists’ Residency, Castellón Province, Spain (PARC) was based at a rural smallholding (masia in Spanish) close to Atzeneta del Maestrat, Castellón. From this mountain location the studio-workshop and residence enjoy spectacular views over a valley of almond and olive groves. In the heart of a rural farming community, the masia has 40,000 m2 of tiered land climbing the side of a small mountain. This landscape is an intriguing context to work in and explore.

The PARC Residency is now closed.

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