Wiktoria Dobrowolska

(b. 1997, lives in Warsaw) is a graduate of the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Working with various media, she is an author of installations, paintings, serigraphs, sonic objects, and sculptures. Dobrowolska is fascinated by ecopsychology, instrumentology, and sound anthropology, which, apart from experiencing the beauty of the Earth, are her main source of inspiration.

Skins, 2021, tactile installation, mixed media, courtesy of the artist

The work was inspired by the artist’s personal relationship with horses. Each Skin piece consists of an outer layer (painted canvas) and an inner layer (reclaimed fur/plush). On the one hand, they refer to what is cold and dead, and on the other, to the reviving warmth of touch. However, the boundary between the two states is indistinguishable, because the work is based on the assumptions of ecopsychology, which, according to Theodor Roszak, seeks “to rediscover, in functionally ‘healthy’ adults, this animistic quality of experience with which a child is born.” Animism in some indigenous communities is based on the belief that all cosmic, natural phenomena, including non-human forms of existence, such as animals, plants, and objects, have a soul and are animate.

This installation welcomes stroking

Relic, 2021, tactile installation, fur, herbaceous plants, courtesy of the artist

The space arranged by the artist is meant to provide the last farewell to the remains of creatures killed by the fur industry. The form of the installation alludes to the compositions that, in her childhood, Dobrowolska created for dead animals in woods and meadows. All furs were found in a second-hand shop and the plants used were harvested from mown urban areas. Most of them are species described as “invasive.”

Presence, 2021, interactive object, LP record, gramophone, wooden table, 14’39’’, courtesy of the artist

 Presence is a record of the sounds made by a mare named Greta, who, as a foal, was traumatized by her owners. When she was three, she was sold to someone who built a strong, close and healing relationship with her. The recording took place in the stable where Greta lives. Fourteen minutes were chosen from several hours of audio material, composed to mimic Greta’s presence. The decision to choose the medium was motivated by research which proves that auditory stimuli can evoke feelings more effectively than visual perception.

[based on materials from the artist’s website: wiktoriadobrowolska.com]

Photo: Skins (detail), 2021, courtesy of the artist


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