“Wages for Housework”
              Ewa Borysiewicz
              In “Wages for Housework,” Paulina Ołowska takes up the ongoing task of writing women back into art history. Foksal Gallery Foundation’s exhibition of the Polish artist’s work—alongside paintings and sculptures by Agata Słowak and Natalia Załuska—reflects on the foundations of modern art, emphasizing the interdependency of gender and capital, by reimagining the modernist environment of Warsaw’s best-known white cube. The show builds on Ołowska’s longstanding interest in complicating the male history of modernism; her previous work has involved research on artistic personas (including Zofia Stryjeńska, Janina Kraupe-Świderska, and Maja Berezowska) and engaged with media and visual idioms that blend “high” and “low” culture. More recently, she has turned towards an investigation of “the grotesque” as formulated by Mikhail Bakhtin: its main principle of corruption as a means of subverting the dominant discourse is apparent in works focused on points of breakthrough, crisis, and change. “The grotesque,” notes the writer Tess Thackara, “is inherently associated with the feminine, long having shaped depictions of the female body—prostitutes, femmes fatales, and sorceresses.” These transgressive figures populate the first part of the show. Słowak’s painting The Sacrificial Rabbit (all works 2020) depicts three female personages with the animal offering hanging in the background. The trio, …

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