Ula Dajerling brings Polish wax fortune-telling to Plymouth Arts Centre's Dark Materialism

By Ben Miller | 29 January 2013

Exhibition preview: Dark Materialism, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, until March 28 2013

A photo of a wax-like abstract black rippled sculpture against a white background
Ula Dajerling, Amnesia and Oscillation© Ula Dajerling
There is a ritualistic quality to the candle-melted wax, poured into water before being heated and rapidly cooled, with which Polish artist Ula Dajerling creates her abstract sculptures.

Polish parties on the eve of November 30 – known to Poles as Andrzejki but better known worldwide as St Andrew's Day – include the pouring of wax onto water through a key, with the resulting shapes of the shadows cast on the wall used to foretell future husbands for the gathered crowd.

“The prophecy depends on individual interpretation,” says Dajerling, a London-based sorceress who is a favourite of the Arts Centre, where she helped plan anniversary exhibitions during seven years living in Devon and, in a new programme of exhibitions, installations and film screenings, is catalysing responses to the ways artists work with form and formlessness.

In Amnesia and Oscillation, Dajerling has pictured the same sculpture from 12 photographic angles.

“Through careful examination of the formless sculpture, one recognises familiar forms,” she says.

“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.

“When analysing abstract forms, like Herman Rorscharch’s inkblot test, there is no right or wrong answer.

“So whatever the image may be, that is what the future beholds.”

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