On View: Olek’s “Santa Agatha, La Torera” at Delimbo Gallery

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Photo courtesy of Olek

While Olek’s new solo exhibition “Santa Agatha, La Torera” at Delimbo Gallery in Seville draws on Spanish folklore, the new body of work continues the thread of self-exploration that runs through her recent crochet endeavors. The title “Santa Agatha” mythologizes the artist (Olek was born Agatha Oleksiak) in an empowering and self-congratulatory statement. While her last solo show, “The End is Far” at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in early 2013, dealt with issues of violence and sexual harassment (for more in-depth coverage, see my feature on Olek in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29), “Santa Agatha” comes as a radiant re-emergence from a dark time in the artist’s life. Olek transformed the entirety of Delimbo Gallery into what would be a refined, Victorian-inspired parlor if it were not smothered in loud, camouflage-print crochet. The artist returned to her performance art roots with photographs of herself modeling elaborate crocheted costumes and models posing — or rather, merged — with the crocheted sculptures in the installation.

While Olek was in Seville, she did a street art piece that covered the statue of El Cid, Spain’s national hero, in rainbow crochet. Inspired by the themes of immortality in El Cid’s legend — after being wounded in battle, he asked his wife to dress him in his armor and place him on his horse even if he died the next day — Olek intended the piece to be a metaphor for rejuvenation. “People still ask me why I ‘cover’ things in public with yarn magic. I, emulating the street-art legends before me, hope to do more than merely cover surfaces. I (we) highlight existing truths, resurrect memories, honor history and memorialize dreams,” she wrote on her blog about the new piece. Take a look at some photos from “Santa Agatha, La Torera,” which will be on view at Delimbo Gallery through February 1, and El Cid.

Photo courtesy of Olek

Photo courtesy of Laura Calvarro

Photo courtesy of Diego Diez P.

Photo courtesy of Diego Diez P.

Photo courtesy of Diego Diez P.

Photo courtesy of Diego Diez P.

Photo courtesy of Diego Diez P.

Photo courtesy of Diego Diez P.

Photo courtesy of Diego Diez P.

Photo courtesy of Diego Diez P.

Photo courtesy of Laura Calvarro

Photo courtesy of Laura Calvarro

Photo courtesy of Olek

Photo courtesy of Olek

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