Artist Paulina Olowska presented a site-specific theatre performance within Tate Modern’s collection displays. The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue is an adaptation of avant-garde playwright Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz’s play from 1924. The story takes place in a bourgeois setting in which hallucinations, schizophrenia, alcoholism, madness and drug addiction turn into surrealist mayhem. Two professional actors played the role of the mother and the son, while Olowska’s friends and collaborators took on characters including the maid, the prostitute, the aristocratic party boy and the suspicious individual.
Olowska transforms a room in the Poetry and Dream collection display into the theatre set which is open during the day as an installation. The room became a domestic interior inhabited by works by artists including Meredith Frampton, Dora Carrington and Henri Matisse and shows Olowska’s continued interest in the appropriation of histories and the function of painting as a fictional space.
The installation was on view from 14 to 27 September 2015 in the Poetry and Dream Collection Display.