We sat down with Pola to discuss her most recent work, “PLAKATIEF GOES METROPOLIS” in which Pola has re-purposed poster material to create her own collages.
LFB: Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started as an artist?
Pola: I wanted to become an artist since I was six and have always been creative myself without actually being interested in art itself. One afternoon in 2003 in Brighton, England, still at university, during an exchange visit, I became fascinated by a tattered billboard hung along the seafront.
The remnants were the result of multiple posters plastered over each other which had deteriorated via the weather, the wind and maybe even the destructive hands of passersby. Though most individuals would ignore such fragments, I decided they were far too beautiful to ignore. The photo I took that sunny spring day was the starting point for my artistic practice. In each piece, observers find scraps of lost memories, traces of present and future aspirations, images that reflect the personal and social evolution we all experience.
After my first photo exhibition in 2005 I decided to create my own collages. In 2011 I produced my own photo book “Plakatief – A World in Layers” – an urban archaeological study that uncovers and captures an otherwise unnoticed amalgamation of synthetic and natural evolution.
LFB: Have you always worked with collages or are you a multimedia artist? If so what other kinds of mediums do you work with?
Pola: I wouldn’t consider myself a multimedia artist although I do not only work with paper. I also create collage/decollage objects involving other material such a wood, varnish or plexiglas.
LFB: Can you tell us a bit more about the intention behind your exhibition at coGalleries (PLAKATIEF GOES METROPOLIS) and what inspired you to work with posters from different cities?
Pola: My intention was to compile a show with artworks consisting of poster material from all over the globe. Each poster and hence artwork tells its own story and involves local references such as remnants of event announcements, word spelling in different languages, country specific symbols or climatic conditions and hints to the billboard technique.
For example the Southern port cities such as Istanbul, Palma de Mallorca or Lisbon – all of which are characterized by high humidity and an above-average salt content in the air – combine in a way that make the posters shine in pink pastel colors. Whereas poster walls in Eastern Europe are often characterized by thick layers of paste and road stretch, which almost relief-like merge with the paper and engender a certain plasticity. “Plakatief goes Metropolis” perfectly highlights all these little details.
LFB: What made you choose the cities you chose to take posters from?
Pola: I do not choose the city, the city chooses me. I visit lots of different cities on my travels, business trips or artist residencies and when I see poster fragments that I really like, I collect them. But I would never visit a place just because of the purpose of collecting. That seems wrong to me.
LFB: As a female artist, do you find topics of feminism to be inherently linked to your work?
Pola: You can find many female characters in my work, a lot more than male ones. Especially the classy, tough, self-confident women – but I guess that’s rather a coincidence or for aesthetic reasons than related to feminism.
LFB: What current projects are you working on?
Pola: I’ve just started with a new series during my residency in Hungary this summer. The series is called “Scattered” and is made of collage/decollage fragments in mobile form, presented in a hand-made shadow gap frame. I can’t wait to continue working on the series after my winter holidays. Furthermore, I am preparing my next grand exhibition at the Kunststation Kleinsassen in fall 2018. I don’t want to anticipate the details, but the overall topic is cars.
LFB: What inspires you most as an artist?
Pola: The urban environment, going out – strolling around, absorbing my surrounding and of course traveling!
Artwork by Pola Brändle