Joyous Artwork That Touch Heavy Topics By Preta Wolzak

When I came across her work I was captivated by her colourful mixed media artworks made out of embroidery, sequins, fibres and acrylics. It made me curious about the narrative of her work as she often devotes her art to political topics. This doesn’t always seem that obvious, looking at the art pieces that have a joyous atmosphere. That also describes the strength of her art pieces that discuss a heavy topic without directly giving that same feeling whilst looking at the work.

Wolzak explains to me that it is very important to her to address something painful in her work with a bit of humour and people obviously like to be entertained. It is ludicrous that art is supposed to be enjoyable even when it touches a heavy topic the artist says. However, what is even more ludicrous according to Wolzak is the actual reality of these topics. An example of this is her Fighting Women series about powerful women who haven’t received any sufficient recognition for their work, mainly because of their gender.

She continues about how she is fascinated with the behaviour we have as individuals in contrast with group behaviour. In our current time we want to distinguish ourselves from others, but at the same time, we want to belong to certain groups. Wolzak concluded that misbehaviour often happens in groups, for example when you look at the consequences of tourism, which is the topic of her Arctic Charade series.

Mixed media artists don’t really have to choose a material to work with, though recently Wolzak mostly works with embroidery after she paints the base of the artwork. She always searches for materials she can use, some are very conscious choices and others are just because these are nice materials to work with. She doesn’t really use traditional embroidery techniques, but with experimenting and making errors she discovered a way to create shades that you can’t with painting.

Currently, she will continue to make work with these techniques as she can use any beautiful material she finds. However, embroidery is quite a demanding technique Wolzak explains her wrists certainly need a break from time to time. This is also the reason why she occasionally switches her focus to creating sculptures so her wrists can make another movement.

Wolzak’s work is currently exhibited during the Wolzak & Kosters Serious International Business at Museum Rijswijk until the 31/03/2019.