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Ula Dajerling takes her ‘Dark Materialism’ to the Plymouth Arts Centre

Ula Dajerling takes her 'Dark Materialism' to the Plymouth Arts Centre

Ula Dajerling takes her ‘Dark Materialism’ to the Plymouth Arts Centre

Ula Dajerling, the London artist, is taking several different approaches while she explores how to exactly create ‘formless art’ at the Plymouth Arts Centre as part of her first solo exhibition that will run from January 26th to March 28th and is titled Dark Materialism.

Dajerling has been able to work at Plymouth’s Creative Arts Facility Flameworks thanks to the support that she has received from The Polish Cultural Institute in order to create a new sculpture. Her work has already inspired plenty of people including as the catalyst for the Formative programme, film screenings, and even for some installation work.

Each of the pieces take a look at how modern artists work with lack of form and form. The programme of the new Dajerling exhibit takes its inspiration directly from the Formless: A User’s Guide that was created by Rosalind Krauss and Yve-Alain Bois in 1997.

Dajerling’s sculptures are often the result of multiple transformations; heating and cooling methods which reflect both natural phenomena and industrial systems for extracting and utilising raw materials.  The carefully selected objects, materials and methods used in her works reveal an important subtext; their role in social and economic history, as products or by-products of human production, informs the work.

The amorphous sculptures that emerge embody the artist’s process and her concerns, whilst embedded in the actions and materials are personal histories. Creating the installation, Amnesia and Oscillation, Dajerling re-enacted a Polish folk fortune telling ritual still used in her homeland today which involves pouring hot wax onto cold water. The shapes that emerge are used to predict the unpredictable and illuminate that which has not yet formed.

Dajerling was brought-up with the ‘pouring wax’ ritual conventionally performed on 30 November, St Andrew’s Day, known in Poland as Andrzejki. Polish parties held on the eve of Andrzejki included pouring hot wax through the hole in a key (symbolic of opening and closing secrets) into cold water and then divining a future by reading the shapes from the shadows the wax pieces cast on a wall.

Amnesia and Oscillation consists of a wax sculpture and a set of 12 photographs, each portraying the same sculpture photographed at different angles.  Wax collected from candle ends were melted and poured into water.  Through heating and rapid cooling, the wax sets in motion and the abstract form’s created.

For Dajerling, there are no definitive predictions from forming Amnesia and Oscillation as she believes that interpretations change in every present moment. She says: “Through careful examination of the formless sculpture, one recognizes familiar forms.  These shapes for example could be a bird, angel or the dragon which are believed to have prophetic qualities that will be manifested in the future.

She continues: “The prophecy depends on individual interpretation. When analysing abstract forms, like Herman Rorschach’s inkblot test, there is no right or wrong answer so whatever the image may be, that is what the future beholds.”

Dark Materialism is a free exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre 26 January to 28 March. Formative is a programme of exhibitions and events, which are designed to coincide with Dark Materialism and expand the investigation of form and the ‘formless’. This programme features previous Plymouth Arts Centre graduate resident, James Eden, who be exhibiting within the Restaurant Gallery and the cinema.  His works with drawing, sculpture and video have an approach that blurs the boundaries between different media. Whilst in Studio One, Graham Guy Robinson’s exhibition explores sculpture as a temporary platform; a meeting point for material, activity and event.

For the full Formative programme and to book film tickets, visit or phone the Box Office on 01752 206114. Cinema tickets are £6.50, concessions £5.50, matinee £4.50.



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