In Lasota’s work in general, the central, recurrent motif was the object, a material trace of artificially generated human needs. She created nostalgic works that balance on an edge between design and visual arts. She died on the 4th of March 2019.
Designer, creating works that balance between design and visual arts.
Agnieszka Lasota received a thorough education in the field of design, in Poland and in Italy. She completed the Faculty of Interior Design at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1996, and did postgraduate studies at Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan until 2006. Later she worked as an interior designer and collaborated with various media, as an editor at the magazine Twój Styl and a creative director at Fashion TV Poland. Since 2003 she was active solely as an artist.
Many of her works were objects of everyday use. Wisp (2009), one of her most popular pieces, was a lampshade made from a 60 cm wide wire spiral that had 120 fluttering multi-coloured ribbons attached to it. As its name suggests, Wisp refered to the folk tradition of putting a bouquet of flowers or decorative wreath on the roof of a newly completed building.
Lasota gracefully joined the ethno trend in 21st-century Polish design, a style that enjoyed popularity at design presentations around the world in recent years.
Copies of Wisp were made from materials that differ in colour and texture. It was the artist’s intention to provide customized versions: one may change the colour and length of the ribbons, and hang souvenirs or talismans from them. As Lasota explained:
I would like my Wisp to be a reasonably priced present for those who have finished renovating or building their house.
Furniture with a Memory (2006-2010) was another realization that was frequently shown at exhibitions. In this series, Lasota "poured" translucent glass over broken fragments of wood tables, cupboards, etc. The work clearly shows that the artist draws inspiration from visual arts and new media.
I carefully enclose found elements of old furniture that are in a pitiful state in a glass cabinet. Instead of renovating I preserve them in their present condition. I restore their old functions by giving them new forms.
The nostalgia present in her realizations rendered them artistic objects. They retained, however, their pragmatic character. In these works Lasota emphasized the ephemerality of time and the materiality of the object.
Furnishing The City: Polish Design for Public Spaces
The first Furniture with a Memory pieces shown at the international DMY fair in Berlin brought the author a prestigious award. A year later, after they were presented at the Salone del Mobile fair in Milan, the Italian newspaper L’Espresso mentioned Lasota as one of the most interesting contemporary designers. In Poland, Furniture with a Memory was put on display during exhibitions in the Institute of Industrial Design in Warsaw and in the Leon Wyczółkowski Regional Museum in Bydgoszcz.
Lasota acknowledged drawing inspiration from process-oriented psychology - the method developed by Arnold Mindell that enables the interpretation of the subjective perceptions of the surrounding world by explaining the role of the body, emotions, dreams and memory.
The artist’s quests were indicated in works that have a conceptual character rather than by practical pieces: Self-Portraits (2010), Little Sun (2010) and Sketches (2009-2011).
In Self-Portraits Lasota used photographs of her grandmother, mother and daughters, printed on semi-translucent foil. She glued them to the surfaces of mirrors. The faces in the photos and Lasota’s reflection overlapped. With Self-Portraits, it was hard to point to any pragmatic aspects:
Even if this project has a pragmatic aspect, the average viewer can hardly notice it. The function of this work allows the artist (and her only) to tame the issues of the passing of time, fading and departure, which are inevitably linked to generational changes.
On the other hand, the work Little Sun was created for the Designersblock exhibition, hosted by Ventura Lambrate 2011 during the Milan design week. The piece consisted of sheets hanging on clotheslines. The bed linens had slits edged with embroideries that bring to mind sheets prepared for wedding nights in traditional cultures. The installation was complemented by photographs of women shrouded by sheets. The work was accompanied by Stanisław Syrewicz’s music. Lasota explained:
Little Sun is a rebellious and angry reaction to the widespread use of sex as a marketing tool. The meaning of nudity is changing - it no longer connotes intimacy, instead it is becoming a symbol of sales. In another sphere Little Sun is a protest against the instrumental treatment of women, which is present in all cultures and religions.
Sketches referred to traditionally feminine areas of handicraft. It was a kind of an artistic notebook in which drawings made by pen are accompanied by single embroidered words. It was a record of intuitions and feelings, rather than a ready product.
Lasota emphasized the immaterial character of designing, more emotional than visual. For her, technical possibilities of contemporary design were only a tool that inspires deeper thought. That might have been a reason one of her installations was titled And This Room Shall Be Empty..., shown in the Topical Art Zone in Łódź in 2011. In this work, the artist took the viewers on a tour of a non-existent design exhibition. As Marika Kuźmicz noted:
Lasota gives the viewers substitutes of objects, she shows them video images and frees them from the obligation of consuming.
Another project by Lasota in 2011, Ties, realized for the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków, also conjured an imaginary space. The re-created room from a villa constituted a reconstruction of the title, as interpersonal and intergenerational ties. Here, as in Lasota’s work in general, the central, recurrent motif was the object, a material trace of artificially generated human needs.
The artist’s latest project, entitled FaceBlok (2011-2012), addressed such issues as interpersonal communication and the blurring of the line between private and public spheres. Lasota employed a form that referred to the aesthetic of posts from online-ommunity portals. She encouraged a group of Wrocław citizens to turn their windows into screens. The participants use projectors connected to laptops to display their messages on the window-screens. A specific conversation is held. The posts can be viewed on the site www.faceblok.com.pl.
The artist’s internet site: www.agnieszka-lasota.pl
Author: Paulina Kucharska, February 2013
Selected exhibitions and presentations:
- Phillips Design, Warsaw University Library, Warsaw
- dIZAJN! dIZAJN!, BWA Bielska Gallery, Bielsko-Biała
- individual exhibition, Wawelberg Bank, Warsaw
- DMY International Design Festival, Berlin
- Furniture with a Memory, Wytwórnia Theatre, Warsaw
- Łódź Design Festival, Łódź
- International Design Biennale, St. Etienne
- Salone del Mobile, Milan
- Added Value. World Design from Poland, Institute of Industrial Design, Warsaw
- Natural Resources of Polish Design, Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola
- Unpolished – Young Design From Poland, Brussels Design September, Brussels
- Polska Folk, Tent London, London
- Designersblock - 100% Design, London Design Festival, London
- Upstream/Design Tales, Łódź Design Festival, Łódź
- Designboom Mart, World Design Market Seoul, Seoul
- Lesser-Poland Tale, Ethnodesign Festival, Kraków
- Materia Prima, BWA Bielska Gallery, Bielsko Biała
- Furniture with a Memory, Leon Wyczółkowski Regional Museum, Bydgoszcz
- Added Value, World Expo Shanghai, Shanghai
- Works, BWA Design Gallery, Wrocław
- Salone del Mobile, Milan
- Life in 3D, BWA Gallery, Olsztyn
- Ethno- Inspirations, National Museum in Gdańsk
- And This Room Shall Be Empty…, Topical Art Zone, Łódź
- Ties, Ethnographic Museum, Kraków
- Faceblock, KRVN, Wrocław
- Point Dume, Concept Store Mysia 3, Warsaw
fashiontv | FTV.com - AGNIESZKA LASOTA - MILAN FURNITURE SALON 2009
Agnieszka Lasota – . And This Room Shall Be Empty / Topical Art Zone
Faceblock – official trailer
A is for Architecture: Designing Buildings For Kids