Bortolami Gallery is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of works by the Polish artist Anna Ostoya. The show will feature a series of new collages on canvas entitled Exposures that were all made during February 2011. For this series, Ostoya staged a durational performance. Each day, she began a new work with the aim of finishing 28 canvases-as many as there are days in February-by the time of the opening on March 1st.
Conceived in response to the Bortolami Gallery's invitation, Exposures depends on pre-determined limits. They were realized not only through the temporal restrictions of her daily regimen, but also through the physical restrictions of the 20 x 24-inch canvases on which she worked. Other materials included newspaper and internet images, papier-mâché, gold leaf, and acrylic paint. Moving between her kitchen and studio, Ostoya made papier-mâché from unused papers creating compositions that operated somewhere between meticulous planning and improvisation. The scheduled time-too little for either lengthy reflection or extensive revision-became a test of her artistic efficiency and an experiment in creative manufacture. Performing like an udarnik (a super productive worker in Communist states), she attempted, in paradoxical fashion, to recapture enthusiasm and genuine spontaneity through disciplinary constraint. Exploring the tension between representation and abstraction, each canvas is marked by the day's events and shaped by Ostoya's creative responses. Through the combination of cheap paper and gold foil, she opened the work to questions about economic and ethical values, and through her accelerated timetable, she aligned her practice with industrial modes of cultural production.