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Lucy Pawlak

* 1980 in London, GBR
Studied at Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Lodz, POL, and Royal College of Arts in London, GBR


Lucy Pawlak x

We Eat the World / The World Eats Us, 2016, 16:31 min. [extract 03:04 min.], colour, sound [VIDEONALE.16]

We see a panting dog; there is a ticking sound in the background; a man crouches in a building excavation; the surroundings are dry and stony. A voiceover comes in. The man straightens up, moving with raw and wild gestures. Together with the narration, his dancing tells a story. In total, we are introduced to six different characters whose lives are interrelated, though the connection is only a superficial one: a stripper is worshipped by a writer who is fleeing from his marriage through the endless sexual adventures he finds online. His wife reflects on her husband’s infidelity at a distance. The other three characters seem to make do with anonymous and virtual erotic fantasies and confused flights from reality.
The stories tell of individuals driven by their urges, which are staged as tragi-comic, and embody an unconscious fear: the fear of the emptiness which is temporarily held at bay by fleeting yet intense contact and unreal dream worlds. The feeding of a hungry ego in a world which resembles a building site – raw and fallow. They tell of fantasies, obsessions and no-strings-attached sex, encounters which are all-consuming, but utterly devoid of intimacy. Is this a consequence of our fast-paced, digitized era? Do we really know one another? Lucy Pawlak’s work investigates different communication technologies which are readily available, but which fail to establish real interpersonal contact. A flight from the here and now. Physical contact which remains superficial, and merely fulfils the emotion needs of an ego turned in on itself, encounters which are nothing more than a series of short moments of satisfaction. (Sandra Reinhardt)

*The complete version of the work can be requested from the artist.


Lucy Pawlak x

Arriving Without Leaving (Garanteed Happy Ending), 2013, 10:11 min., colour, sound [VIDEONALE.16 special project]

With the help of shaky video footage which calls to mind the virtual reality of a first-person shooter videogame, Lucy Pawlak’s Arriving without Leaving (Guaranteed Happy Ending) creates a space located between fiction and reality. The camera creates a connection between the viewer and the on-screen protagonists by following the perspective of the on-screen avatar, whose oversize papier-mâché hands are visible at the bottom of the screen. A mechanical voice explains the rules of the game, giving us instructions and letting us choose between alternatives using a game menu which appears intermittently on the screen. We are told to make use of real objects while watching the screen, making it possible for the viewers to experience sensory impressions which correspond to the story unfolding in the film. But the façade of a complete fusion of reality with the virtual reality of the game is repeatedly deliberately interrupted. When the interaction which the video demands of us turns out to be impossible, the medium is revealed to be a fiction. »Why can’t you reach?«, a woman asks us after we fail to reach a rope she has instructed us to pick up. »Let’s have a cocktail«, she suggests, dropping the glass before our eyes.
At the very latest by the point our counterpart loses her arm in a fight without any visible opponent, the video confronts us with a question concerning the difference between external influence and autonomous decision making. In the typo-ridden language typical of computer games, she tells the viewer »Step back! Roll! Hit! It was another game«, and holds the stump of her arm up to the camera. The dismantling of the virtual world culminates as our hands are ripped off and burned. »What are you made of?« – we are addressed directly, and when we are instructed to »run«, we are brought crashing back to reality, and to questions about the structure of our very own games – life, without a guaranteed happy ending. (Annika Artmann)

Lucy Pawlak