Born Agata Oleksiak in Poland and preferring to be referred to simply as ‘Olek’, this talented woman graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland with a degree in cultural studies before moving to New York city, where she now lives and works. Having learned how to crochet at an early age, she began to see that this skill could be interpreted as art and about a decade ago of bringing the astonishing results to public attention.
Olek’s unforgettable artworks have been exhibited in galleries all around the world, including Brooklyn, Istanbul, Venice and Brazil. Articles about her fantastic creations have appeared in The New York Times, Fiberarts Magazine, The Village Voice, and the Washington Post. She received the 2004 Ruth Mellon Award for Sculpture and was a winner of the Apex Art Gallery commercial competition. Her work also featured during the 49th VeniceBienale celebration art exhibition.
Since her work is sculptural in form, she often seeks to shock and surprise with larger pieces in the form of installations, recently developing crocheted camouflage pieces, with which she aims at giving new meaning to objects such as an abandoned house, benches of a commercial boat, a footbridge, a Polish WWII bunker and the windows of the public boat in Istanbul.
She says "The shapes of my work takes vary, as it is a bridge between the manufactured world of minimalism and the free flowing forms of anti-form. I have been interested in the relationship between the crocheted and the body, so much so that I have crocheted sperm, human skeletons, garments, cancer cells, bodies, self-encasement and entire interiors which the body enters. Much of the materials for my sculptural impulses are those, which are ephemeral, suggesting the limited life of the art object and the art concept".
She continues: “My camouflage sculptures/installations refer to human behavior, intended to make both the viewer and the performer conscious of their movements and interactions. Perception in our contemporary society is reality. But like camouflage, perception shifts and has no anchor or stability… its visibility is constantly changing and moving. This is what Olek feels is the strength of her message and it is difficult indeed to disagree.”