Artists need to express their art. I’ve spent the last month and a half immersed in this world.I can definitely say that talented people, creative people, don’t usually limit themselves to a single form of artistic expression. They find a way to release their ideas in other ways.
This is the story of Olek, the Polish-American artist residing in NYC for more than 13 years now. She’s known internationally as the ‘queen of crochet’ and she’s got galleries and museums from around the world lining up to show her pieces. Her work, visually is forceful, yet it is in the message that we see the true force that she wants to get across to any who see it. “I don’t like to explain my exhibitions or my public interventions. I like the viewers to interpret what they see, through the lens of their own ideas and experiences. I don’t like to filter people’s thoughts. They can love or hate what I do, for me it’s important create feelings in them, a change for the better or the worse. If artists explain their work, the public will come to it with preconceived notions, with a guide to understand it, they’ll see it according to my instructions, and I don’t want that.”
Olek doesn’t only do crochet; based on the technique, she composes works of art, in her own way. And apart from the physical objects, there’s the photography, the video and, yes, clothing design. Over the six weeks that she was in Seville, she took an uncountable number of pictures which she then compulsively shared across various social networks., she shot videos like “Underwater Treasures” and a stop-motion homage to an icon representative of the city, the mascot of Expo 92, together with the talented, young, sevillano artist Manuel Suarez.
As for fashion design, it’s a field for which she has a special passion and calling. On any given day she lives it, even designing and decorating her own clothes. She wants to take it further, however, “I find myself in the situation of wanting to express myself through design, but at the same time, I feel apprehensive about turning my clothes into objects for consumption, fashion today is like fast-food, it’s frivolous I don’t know if I want to get sucked into the consumer vortex.” What is certain, however, is the innate talent that she carries with her. For proof of this incredible natural ability, look no further than the bullfighter’s jacket that she made for the exhibition, a crochet “traje de luces” with every inch covered in Olek’s signature style. Watching her create the flamenco skirts for the girls at the inaugural performance left me speechless; in only a few hours she’d produced them, sewn and ready to wear. The cherry on top was her collaboration with the famous designer Pilar Vera, a very flamenco party dress they created together and which was used for a photo shoot with photographer Juan Delgado and also worn for opening night last November 7th.
The Delimbo gallery, located in the Sevillano Soho, was able to withstand the test and will hold the exhibition titled, “Santa Agatha, la torera”, an ode to feminine strength, with a figure of Saint Agatha the martyr as the center piece.
In the words of Olek, “I’m not a studio artist, everything was made from scratch during my time here, it would have been easier to stay in my studio in NY, send the pieces by mail and be able to enjoy the city of Seville, but, I like to get involved in the culture and local peculiarities, so I can let that out in my work.” And she’s achieved it, Seville marked a turning point in her life, a mark that will be difficult to forget. But Seville has changed as well with the El Cid intervention, which is a step forward in a city that touts its tradition. Olé for both of them.
As always, the public will have the last word and you can see for yourself. The exhibition with be in 1 Pérez Galdós street until February 1st.
Translated by Michael Padilla