Portfolio 2021 – Nina Adelajda Olczak

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Nina Adelajda Olczak

Selected Works 2008 – 2021 Strandvej 34a, 4874 Gedser, Dania nina.adelajda@gmail.com +45 52 73 28 81 www.ninaadelajda.com

Nina Adelajda Olczak

*1980, Schwetz, Poland, lives and works in Gedser, Denmark and Opole Silesia, Poland.

Nina Adelajda Olczak is a Denmark based media artist and curator, who works predominantly with moving image, installation and performance. Born in Poland in 1980, the artist moved to Germany in her early twenties, where she studied Art History and English and subsequently Media Art. She is a graduate of Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. In her practice she often explores the medium itself as in her latest curatorial project “Transmission KarlsruheWarsaw-Kassel“ where live performances and exhibit events were streamed between the three cities. Olczak‘s multichannel video works, installations and performances construct bizarre, insightful and sometimes satirical narratives exploring various aspects of identity and artistic experimentation.

“Impossible Escape – Chants of Resilience and Hope”

2021, found objects, living plants, algae, moss, fermentation cultures, cyanotypes on aquarel paper and fabric, exhibited in Fo rmidlingshuset Marinestation, Gedser, DK

Just before the pandemic, the artist, tired of the pace and the stress of the city life, moved to the countryside on Southern Falster. Little did she know, the world was about to stop in its tracks and the romantic idea of escaping civilization is to be confronted with the harsh lockdown reality. But every escape is also an escape from oneself from one’s self and as such deemed impossible.

In her exhibit “Impossible Escape - Chants of Resilience and Hope” Nina Adelajda Olczak tells a story of a journey through a year filled with waiting for bet ter times and our ability to adapt and grow in changing conditions.

The artist presents a series of works in different media - installations with living plants on found objects that serve as a breeding ground for living organisms, like plants, algae, fungi and moss and a series of prints made with a photographic technique called cyanotype. The exhibit is an alive organism which, just like our own organisms, grows and changes every day.

“Artist Coach”

2021 (since 2015), ongoing Socially Engaged Art project, series of civic resistance, art, performance and yoga workshops, online live yoga classes, Instagram and Face book channel

Instagram: artist.coach, Facebook: yogaartistcoach

In a world devoid of metaphysics, it is the trainers who replace the priest, so one could summarize one of the main messages of the book “You must change your life. About anthropotechnics” by Peter Sloterdijk. The German philosopher describes a society indulging i n the rituals of „modern asceticism“ in which we are, in a way, innate - crammed into the whole system of examinations, certificates, bonuses , plastic sur gery, the imperative of integrating with the rules, which is hidden under the mantle of civil society. While the classic exercises were practiced in order to reconcile with the Cosmos or with God, they have now been replaced by self care.

The Artist Coach project deals with the issues of self-optimization trends, self-improvement, striving for a new ideal of a man and an artist preparing for a post-liberal world.

In the highly competitive global art world, the requirements directed to contemporary artists are becoming more and more demand ing. The rapid economic and technological changes call for continuous professional development, not only on terms of artistic practice b ut also in terms of self-marketing, networking, writing about own work and staying up-to-date with the newest digital trends and tools.

As a result of such development the artist profession has become one of the most stressful professions with about 9% of artist s reporting an episode of major depression in the previous year. Working long hours for low pay, fighting for budgets and the emotional exhaus tion tied to creative output contribute to the burnout hazard.

Artist Coach offers sustainable living solutions for contemporary artists. All coaching services are free and based on particip atory knowledge exchange. For example, visual artists may, in exchange for coaching services, lend their works to an exhibition, offer a lectur e in their field of expertise or mentor another artists.

Participation in the proejct activities is not limited to artists only. The project has an open structure and the training is b ased on the assump tion that knowledge from any field can be used in designing training activities. During the past years Artist Coach has been of fering Yoga for Art Lovers for audience of art shows, created short instructional videos explaining how to work out during an art show, trained diverse artists and artists groups in social media marketing, resume writing, offered portfolio reviews and, more recently a series of weekly o nline live yoga and meditation classes Yoga in Times of a Virus (2020) and Yoga for Activists (2021) – designed to offset the psychological eff ects of the pandemic and social upheavals around the world.

of weekly online yoga and meditation classes Yoga in Times of the Virus and Yoga for Activists, March 2020 – February 2021 (ongoing)

Artist of the Week - a series of short exercising videos featuring art works by the artists using coaching ser vices on the Instagram Artist Coach account.

How to Work Out during an Art Show – a set of exercises to be performed during a visit to the museum. The photos show the exhibition “Present” at GSW Opole, 2017

Documenta Workout a set of exercises to be performed during a visit to the Documenta 14 exhibition, June 2017

Social media training and performance classes with the artistic group “Kaszel” from Warsaw, Kassel, Documenta July 2017.

Yoga for Art Lovers - Yoga and meditation classes rec ommended before visiting Documenta 14, June 2017

How to start a revolution, a series of workshops and participative performances during ECC Residency in Breslau, Poland, 2016.

“Revolutionary Manoeuvres”

2019,Vera Rum Copenhagen, Set of participatory performances/ workshops engaging the audience

Revolutionary Manoeuvres is a participatory performance workshop meant as a regimen to train the visitor for a revolution that seems inevi table in face of looming political and societal challenges. The set of mental and physical exercises, theory classes, dance, me ditation and yoga sessions and other rituals is supposed to help the participator to collect strength and courage to create a new and fair o rder and will prepare him for the dramatic change in politics and society, institutions and mentalities.

The workshop takes place in a gallery and has an open form, meaning it is possible to register for it, but walk-ins are also we lcome. It takes over several days and is composed of theoretical and practical elements. The theoretical elements are lectures, exercises and d iscussion sessions circling around the subjects of non-violent action, civil disobedience and non-violent communication. The practical el ements com prise of yoga sessions aimed at building up stamina and balance, where the participant is not only guided through different pos tures but also explained the background of revolutionary movements from its very beginnings and made aware of different benefits of each exercise while preparing for the battle. Other activities include dance and music sessions, creativity and art workshops, comunal cookin g and eating.

For the duration of the manoeuvres the exhibit space is transformed into a revolution laboratory and the result of free discuss ion sessions are documented on gallery walls. The activities take place inside and outside of the gallery, taking over the public space and involving even more participants into the project. All the events are aimed at general public, people of all ages and children are welcome.

The workshop builds on a selection of workshops and collective performances that had been taking place since summer 2016 in different locations around Europe: during a residency in European City of Culture Breslau in 2016, Documenta 14 in 2017, and an exhibit Glatteis in Cologne in 2018.

Documentation of various activities during “Revolutionary Manoeuvres”, 27.08-01.09.2019, Vera Rum, Copenhagen.

“Welcome to Polotubbieland”

2016, HD video, 7 minutes, sound; series of graphic works (GPS drawings, digital collage, acrylic on laser print), a performanc e suit

Videolink: https://vimeo.com/179645131

There are three methods, by which a man may rise to be chief minister. The first is, by knowing how, with prudence, to dispose of a wife, a daughter, or a sister; the second, by betraying or undermining his predecessor; and the third is, by a furious zeal, in publi c assemblies, against the corruption’s of the court. (…) The palace of a chief minister is a seminary to breed up others in his own trade: the pages, la ckeys, and porters, by imitating their master, become ministers of state in their several districts, and learn to excel in the three principal ingredients, of insolence, lying, and bribery. Accordingly, they have a subaltern court paid to them by persons of the best rank; and some times by the force of dexterity and impudence, arrive, through several gradations, to be successors to their lord. He is usuall y governed by a decayed wench, or favorite footman, who are the tunnels through which all graces are conveyed, and may properly be called, in the last resort, the governors of the kingdom.*

*Gulliver’s Travels, Johnathan Swift, 1735

Just like a modern Gulliver, equipped with a compass, a GPS application and a bicycle, I embark on a journey in a country that is very for eign, yet very familiar to me. I expect a a sentimental, nostalgic odyssey in a country where I spend my childhood. Instead, ho wever, this journey turns into an expedition that takes me to a completely unknown place inhabited by Polotubbies. It is very clear to me t hat I am a stranger here, but this fact is very rarely noticed by the Polotubbies. I speak the same language as them and I lived in a simi lar place many years ago. Much like the hero of the novel in the Houyhnhnms and Yahoo‘s land, I spend my time communicating with local residen ts to un derstand their everyday reality. Attacks on the independence of the media and culture, increasing restrictions on the freedom o f speech and the constant expansion of nationalism come to light in almost every conversation I have conducted. Why is the idea of nation-state, which sociologists long doubt, still so strong?

Is there such a thing as a collective consciousness in which the identity, mind-set, ideas and values of people are anchored, or is it more likely used to form stereotypes and prejudices that ultimately lead to a defence against „the foreign“?

“Welcome to Polotubbieland“ is a project about mass manipulationand the dangers of radicalization, as well as an intense confro ntation with identity issues in the face of the political situation in Poland. The Polutubbie figure mentioned in the title is an allusion t o a Teletubie – the main character of a children’s TV series who live in a surreal landscape and tell fanciful stories. In the Polish Polotubbie wo rld, Polotubbies are the new, better breed of citizens – clearly patriotic, nonchalantly nationalist, and undoubtedly ethno-pluralist. Even in a rt the revelation of the right-wing populist artist can no longer be stopped. It can be seen in the newly aligned Polish cultural policy and its implementation containing a creeping rejection of freedom of expression.

“Welcome to Polotubbieland” is a series of works created during an artist residency Logographers in August 2016 in Opole, Polan d. The cycle includes an HD video based on a conversation about current cultural policy changes in Poland, a series of GPS drawings creat ed using the bicycle and presenting media-prominent, politically charged messages, as well as a a photo collage called „The Revelation o f the RightWing Populist Artist.”

to Polotubbieland” Fotocollage, GPS drawings, Exhibit KOHI Kulturraum Karlsruhe, Germany (09.2016); Opole Gallery for Contemporary Art (08.2016) Poland.

Hajmat (Homeland)

2014-2016, mixed media installation: video, card index containing interviews and scientific texts; artistic research, work in progress

“Hajmat” (in Silesian: Homeland) is an artistic approach to the idea of transnational identity in a globalized society. In Upper Silesia, where I grew up, the formation of one’s identity does not primarily progress along national categories. Political, economical and geogra phical shifts in the European arena in 19th and 20th century resulted in developing a kind of hybrid identity among the people inhabiting the area.The line of development of this kind of identity went beyond the concept of the national states and was influenced by Silesian, Polish and German traditions equally over the centuries up until today. Traditions of labor migration are continued for generations in Upper Silesia, contributing to the development of transnatio nal social spaces and lifestyles. This meta-geographical identity model that contrasts the idea of ethnically or culturally homogenous container states can be applied to other groups with hybrid or transnational identity. An example here could be the second generation of Turkish migrants in Germany who’s oscilla tion between both cultures produces a third transnational identity, where ethnic element is of secondary relevance and the whole identity formation process comes down to personal choices between different cultures rather than being connected to national frameworks. The core of the project is a series of interviews conducted with members of multi-generational Silesian families, which manifest various forms of transnatio nal migration. The field of interest spans the areas of cultural transfer, migration and intercultural influences and how it influences the identity formation and perception.

Installationview during Transmission Art Festival Karlsruhe-Athens in Orgelfabrik, Durlach, Germany, 2016

“Akcja: Wioska“ (The Village Project)

2015, durational performance project, first edition of the Village took place at UND#8 Art Festival in Karlsruhe 15-18.10.2015

The Village Project is a durational performance set in a context of an art exhibit or an event developing over the duration of said event. The aim of the village is to inspire the social change and artistic experimentation through the direct contact and exchange with the audience. Art thus becomes a catalyst that increases the pace of social reaction to the issues discussed and accelerates the process of transformation of social con sciousness. Like a barometer, the village detects matters critical to the public and reacts to the issues emerging in the hosting community. These topics become a starting point for panel discussions, lectures, workshops and artistic actions using a wide range of means available in new media art.

For the duration of the exhibition the space resembling a living area of a home becomes a habitat that invites the artists and public living in the area to artistic action. The Village does not recognize a division between artist and the viewer and therefore refers to everybody taking a part in the Village activi ties as to artistic citizens. The Village perceives the artistic citizens in terms of laborers and works towards developing artists’ professional awareness and strengthening their position on the labor market by addressing issues relating to workers’ rights, equitable remuneration and the topics of social security such as pensions, medical care, maternity benefits, unemployment, disability and sick leave benefits.

The village is based on the doctrine of sustainable development aiming at providing a balance between the need of a man for achieving goals according to the civilizational expectations, his right to function in harmony with nature and to interact with it in its purest form. The principles of sustainable development in its three dimensions (economic, social and environmental) were defined at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The premise of the Village is to develop the fourth pillar of sustainable development bracing the Culture, Arts, Education and Ethics of Responsibility.

Village actions are characterized by environmental awareness, prevention of violence, rejection of anthropocentric model and initiatives towards the deve lopment of democracy and social justice.

Implementation of Sustainable Development in the context of the Village is manifested also in the choice of formal artistic means. The village categorically opposes the excessive production of items and materials; the work produced in the Village consists largely of immaterial artistic and performative actions, that focus on the level of concept and ideas and their most important aspect is the creative process itself.

Performances of the Village artists: Kuratorki “Orgelkonzert”, Maria Bitka “Border”, DavidPia Tandem conzert, Kunstfestival UND#8, Karlsruhe 10.2015 Spontaneous readings: reading in German: Maria Bitka Polish Fairy Tales, reading in Polish: Martin Burger; Nina A. Olczak Polish poems. Reading through the intercom: Vilem Flusser Wohnung beziehen in der Heimatlosigkeit; literature available in the Village Library. Village Festival: Spontaneous performances. Anna Gądek, Anna making business cards, in the background Malvina Mielniczuk Toilet Exhibition Village Festival: Spontaneous performances. Nina Adelajda Olczak, Yoga for Art Lovers

LOGO-MOTION. Kinetic Exercises

2015, A series of one channel HD video performance works, sound, work in progress

„LOGO-MOTION. Kinetic exercises“ were created during performance and dance workshop residency in the Opole Contemporary Art Gallery. The title of the work, freely translated, means „the tales of movement“. It is an artistic examination of the concepts of motion and storytelling. Each video is divided into sections engaging with different aspects of those concepts: space, time, physics, philosophy. All of the videos were performed by the participants of the workshops. The choreographers collaborating with me on this project were Pawel Grala, Natalia Iwaniec and Stine Marcinkowski. „LOGO-MOTION. Kinetic exercises“ was developed during a LOGOGRAPHERS. IN MOTION residency in Opole in August 2015.

Video stills from performance series Kinetic Exercises, from right: „Trajectory (motio),“ „Impetus (motio),“ Opole 2015

Video stills from performance series Kinetic Exercises, from right: „Molecular motion: molecular chaos (motio),” „Planetary motion: circulation (motio),” „Mind of the world: to collect, to connect, to build (logos),” Opole 2015

Video stills from performance series Kinetic Exercises, from right: „Cosmos: the law governing the universe (logos),” Opole 2015 Video stills from performance series Kinetic Exercises, from right: „The organizing principle (Laban movement analysis),” Opole 2015
view, Opole Contemporary Art Gallery, August

“The Legend of the River”

2015, mixed media: intervention in public space, video, graphic work, text

„The Legend of the River“ is a kind of artistic tourist guide – during our intervention in the public space we used the countour of our bodies to draw a path that will guide the passersby out of the urban space towards the estuary of the Lune river. Interested locals, that stopped by to take a look at the performance were involved in the action by outlining their shoes, that later became islands on the map. The line be came a base of that map and the text summarizing the geographical characteristics of that map is supposed to help the viewer to find the estuary in order to start his own odyssey.

video: https://vimeo.com/135673258

Projekt „The Legend of the River“ is a collaboration with Magda Wolnicka and was developed during a DART residency in Lancaster in July 2015.

Text (excerpt)

If you want to find the river, follow the line. Starting with The Jacket Hill at the very top corner of the map, turn downwards until you see the first two islands of the Pedestrian Archipelago.

The two islands, the Odysseus and Corry, located in the Bellybutton Bay spread out between The Jacket Hill and Right Palm Cape. Here you will see a magnificent view of the rest of Pedestrian Archipela go with Patience, Liz, Thomas, Paul Islands. Continue on the coastline up until The Patience Strait that is named after the closest island of the chain. Walk until the cliffs of the Bottom Headland. There you can find many landforms, including: caves, natural arches and stacks, and if you turn westwards, after a short 20 minutes hike, you will find yourself in the Forearm Bight. Now enjoy the walk along the waterside, and find many impressive rock formations and natural blowholes, the largest of which being Right Foot Gap.

Installation view of the project, clockwise from top right corner: Opole Contemporary Art Gallery, August 2015 (1,2); Library Hall, Lancaster, July 2015

“White Slave, Red Slave”

2015, 4 channel video installation

“White Slave, Red Slave” is a multichannel video installation that examines the issue of collective memory and the sites that keep that memory alive.

At the threshold of a little hut there is a silhouette of a body in constant movement, changing its poses, looking for a position describing the narrow space. The cottage, once a shelter to several slaves who were used for salt production in the region, has a different function nowadays - that of a monument that contributes to collective memory through its existence.

In the perfromance series I am trying to find a num ber of positions to situate the human body in such a confined space. Eye catching esthetics and cere monial choreography confront the repressive past of that site underlining metaphorically and literally a human body‘s tolerance to suffering.

White Slave video: https://vimeo.com/135566542

Red Slave video: https://vimeo.com/135573286

„White Slave, Red Slave“

2015, video still

Installation view, Transmission Art Festival KarlsruheAthens, Orgelfabrik, Durlach, Germany, 2016

“Born 1980 in Poland”

2013, a two-week ongoing performance, exhibit concept, video, collage, public interventions

Artists: Nina Olczak, Nina Olczak

It was enough to register in one of the social media networks to find first analogies, Google provides the further ones. Nina Olczak exists online as one person. A shared biography produces a common frame of reference, which is the referential object of the artistic experiments of both artists. Born in 1980 in two small towns near the German border, military rule in Poland 1981, move to Germany, art studies at HBK Braunschweig and HfG Karlsruhe. Exploring the paradigms of duplication and identity I asked another artist of the same date, place of birth and name to collaborate with me. Over a specific period of time we lived together in one room and produced video works, collages and performances. We were guided by the principle of L’artpourl’art, the idea that artistic pursuits are their own justification. After the period of two weeks the works were exhibited in a gallery together with one performance piece. The fact that we carry the same name is a part of the work, it questions the concept of artist’s name being used as a trademark to estimate the value and the authenticity of works.

“Born 1980 in Poland” was realized as a part of a diploma exam in the graduate program of Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design.



https://vimeo.com/69613958 password: nina https://vimeo.com/69555966 password: nina https://vimeo.com/69514180 password: nina

2013, installation view, PreView.Süd Gallery, Karlsruhe

Documentation of the project exhibit, clockwise from upper left corner: performance “Pop Art”, PreView.Süd Gallery, Karlsruhe (1), video stills from a documentation of public intervention “Street Art” (2,3), a photo from a performance interview series in PreView.Süd Gallery, Karlsruhe (4)

Previous page top: Collage series “Informal Institute of Nonstandard Thinking” – newspaper clips, paint, ink on paper

Previous page bottom: 2 channel HD video – performance documentation “Rhytmical Exercises: Gymnastics,” and “Rhytmical Exercises: Boxing”

“The Tale of Jonah and the Great Fish”

2010, mixed media installation (wood, acrylic paint, ink, spray paint, found objects, photogra phy and collage), size variable

Owen Flanagan of Duke University, a leading consciousness researcher writes, that “Evidence strongly suggests that humans in all cultures come to cast their own, identity in some sort of narrative form. We are inve terate storytellers”

In my textual installation “The Tale of Jonah and the Great Fish” basing on a deconstructive approach introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida, I am trying to relocate narrative structures to the visual level and drawing myself back from the position of the author, open them to the alternative interpretations of the reader.

“The Tale of Jonah and the Great Fish”

2011, installation view, University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe, Germany

“The Tale of Jonah and the Great Fish” 2011, installation view, University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe, Germany

“Untitled 2010 (I woke up)”

HD video projection,

“Untitled 2010 (I woke up)” is an inner mo nologue of the artist spoken directly to a ca mera, while performing movement sequen ces used in bodybuilding competitions.

The narrative part of the work is framed with studied controlled movements of a body degraded to purely aesthetic and functional purposes.

gap between these two becomes ap parent not only on the visual but also on the textual level – literary study of one’s biological existence is contrasted with an actual demonstration of artist’s physique.

“Untitled 2010 (I woke up)”

installation view, Morgenstrasse Gallery, Karlsruhe, Germany

video: https://vimeo.com/80306745

“Untitled 2010 (I woke up)”

2011, installation view, The National Centre of Contemporary Art, St. Petersburg, Russia

“getting lost, finding the way”

2008, 4 channel video installation, sound

Getting lost finding the way is an investiga tion of relation of different kind of spaces and its influence on one another.

There is a personal, inner space and the impersonal, collective, outer space, there is inner perception of oneself and outer picture that is unconsciously projected into the world. An instinctual imperative of progress is a main reason for the movement, reloca tion or reprocessing in terms of personal alteration.

Getting lost finding the way was realized as a part of an intermediate diploma exam in the undergraduate program of University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe.

The webpage with the four channel video and the documentation of the project: https://vimeo.com/album/3096176

2008, installation view, University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe, Germany

“getting lost, finding the way” 2008, installation view, University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe, Germany

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