BMW Tate Live: Paulina Olowska. ‘The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue’

14 Sep 2015 – 27 Sep 2015

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry

Installation in the collection displays, admission free
Ticketed evening performances on Monday 21 September, 19.00 & 20.30; Wednesday 23 September, 19.00 & 20.30; and Friday 25 September, 22.00
Adults: £8
Concessions available

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Tate Modern

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Bus: 45, 63, 100, 344, 381, RV1
  • Tube: Southwark/Blackfriars
  • Train: London Bridge
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For two weeks this September, a gallery in Tate Modern’s collection displays will be transformed into a ‘domestic interior’ which functions as an art installation by day, and is brought to life as the set for a new theatre performance by night.


This new commission by artist Paulina Olowska combines visual arts, theatre and performance and is the latest in Tate Modern’s ongoing performance series BMW Tate Live.

Decorated with wallpaper and hand-painted murals by Olowska and artist Sławek Lipiński, and furnished with wardrobes, tables and chairs, a semblance of domestic space is conjured within Tate Modern’s Poetry & Dream display. These furnishings will sit alongside paintings by artists such as Henri Matisse, Dora Carrington, Pablo Picasso and André Derain.

Based on The Mother An Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue by avant-garde Polish artist and playwright Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Olowska’s performance will portray the dysfunctional relationship between Janina Eely, a matron, and Leon Eely, her good-looking son. Two professional actors - David Gant and Valerie Cutko - will play the role of the mother and the son, while Olowska’s friends and collaborators take on characters including the maid, the prostitute, the aristocratic party boy and the suspicious individual. The story takes place in a bourgeois setting in which hallucinations, schizophrenia, alcoholism, madness and drug addiction turn into surrealist mayhem.



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