Dana Widawski presents Decorations de Luxe kitschy porcelain figures on finely glazed consoles, ornamental wall coverings, decorative ceramic plates and tiles on which she has burned her figurative fantasies.
Formally aesthetic but also qualitatively handcrafted, her works seem to have been stolen from an arts and crafts museum, but it would be too fleeting to leave it at that. Rather, she holds a mirror behind the decorations of humanity and does not hesitate to deal with stereotypes, to uncover absurdities and to play with contrasts. Her apparently decorative works of art are subtle and amusing in tone but also very provocative.
With her sculpture Figures de Dècoration No. 1, for example, the Berlin-based artist is taking part in the #Me-Too debatewith "rococo" decorative figures auctioned on eBay, to which she applied speech bubbles in comic-strip style. The pair of sculptures are presented on a handmade ceramic console on which, painted in the old master style in underglaze, the hashtag icon is burned into a rocaille frame. Dissonances in the harmony of form and content are deliberately used to steer the debate into a quite different perspective. While in the Rococo period the Age of Enlightenment was germinating in back rooms of elite salons, Christian moral concepts were discussed and questioned, at the beginning of the digital age grievances are publicly denounced in the form of hashtag tweets in social networks.
In a similar way, Widawski's wallpaper pictures parallel the Arts & Crafts movement of industrialization with today's zeitgeist and events. On some of these stencil paintings on canvas, she reconstructed William Morris' ornaments and commented on his vision of a more livable society inscribed in the ornament in the form of a picture puzzle.
With her profound knowledge of the aesthetics and symbolic language of past cultural epochs, the freedoms she allows herself with her "artisan reconstructions" are anything but arbitrary. It is worth taking a deep look behind the scenes of what seems to be merely decorative decorations.
Dana Widawski (born 1973), lives and works in Berlin.
From 1995 to 2000, the artist studied textile design at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle / Saale and from 2004 to 2006 Art in Context at University of Arts in Berlin (Master of Arts). In 2018 Dana Widawski was awarded the L102.ART PRIZE, in 2011 the art prize of the city of Schwabach, in 2001 the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation Prize and in 2000 the scholarship of the HKD Burg Giebichenstein. Her works were i.a. issued in: Gallery Art Mûr (Montréal) Berlin); VI Art Festival Bydgoszczcz (Poland); O19 | OSTRALE Biennale, Dresden; Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin; Gallery Mutter Fourage, Berlin; Gallery Gilla Lörcher | Contemporary Art, Berlin; Gallery of the City of Schwabach, Bavaria; Arts Council of the Sparkasse Karlsruhe; Freies Museum Berlin; Higure 17-15 CAS, Tokyo, (Japan); danubeVIDEOARTfestival, Grein (Austria). Other permanent works in public space: façade art, Drontheimer Str. 19 and Dirschauer Str./corner Revaler Str., Berlin; room art and wall painting for Ortung VII, Südliche Ringstr. 10, Schwabach (Bavaria); Art in architecture, Georg-Friedrich-Händel-Halle, Halle / Saale.