In Welcome to Paradise we follow Anka Dabrowska on an itinerant path: exploring territories both real and imagined, Dabrowska becomes cartographer of ambiguous frontiers, mapping the hidden traces of public and private histories through which we make the city our own.
Born in Poland and now living in London, Dabrowska adopts the position of an outsider or stranger to respond to a sense of displacement increasingly common to inhabitants of contemporary metropolises.
Dabrowska presents a series of new work, a combination of drawings and sculpted 'anti-structures' drawn from documentary research of Warsaw. Exploring the charming facade of the city, she combines her own disjointed recollections with the present reality to examine the disparity between individual identity and collective memory.
In her delicate drawings, tenement blocks, shop fronts and street sign are set adrift against the disquieting blackness of an empty page. Contrasting with the fragile precision of her drawing lines, Dabrowska uses spray-painted marks to reproduce the irreverent pattern of Warsaw graffiti, while semi-abstract designs recall the half-remembered fragments of domestic interiors.
The three dimensional works are based on makeshift commercial structures that punctuate Easter Europe. Haphazard collages of impoverished materials - suggesting an almost schizophrenic confusion of internal and external space - Dabrowska's improvised 'kiosks' offer a noisy counterpart to the whispered eloquence of her drawings.
Like the buildings on which they are based - many of which now lie abandoned - Dabrowska's crude anti-structures evoke confused afterthoughts of consumerist delirium. Built from the disregarded wreckage of everyday life, Dabrowska combines cardboard, wood, garish plastic and concrete alongside documentary snapshots and bright blotches of sprayed graffiti.
Although her work is intensely autobiographical, Welcome Paradise moves beyond personal circumstances to address the common drift through our shared environment, tracing the possibilities for a poetic recuperation of our alienated urban space.
Paulina Latham- Head of Event and Visual Arts:
Polish Cultural Institute