Born Agneta Oleksiak, Olek is a Polish-born crochet artist, living in New York and producing astonishing large-scale crochet installations worldwide.
Her work is often sexually charged, provocative and feminist. Her crocheted apartment installation exhibition in New York (March 2011) offers quirky humour, vibrant colour and a liberal sprinkling of messages that many might find challenging, including the results of her boyfriends’ STD test in the bedspread (http://inhabitat.com/nyc/new-york-artist-olek-crochets-an-entire-apartment/olek04/ )
Olek also has a passion for equality and the environment and regularly promotes these messages in her work. There is an excellent article about her in this article in Brooklyn Street Art (http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/2013/09/24/olek-interview-and-exclusive-photos-from-russia-with-pride/#.VqUJ8FJKW2o)
What is also about her work is the inclusion of live performance as well as static installation pieces. People completely covered in crochet perfom and interact with audiences and visitors to her exhibitions. This video from her website perfectly encapsulates her energy, passion, vitality and unique style.
For me, Olek’s work is unique, fascinating and inspirational. It appeals to my love of bright colour, the scale is breathtaking and the way she uses crochet as a form of wrapping, transforming the familiar into something by encasing it in what is often seen as a very traditional craft, challenges perceptions of art vs craft and how the two can interact.
In addition to “joining” in the sense of connecting people, I see her crochet as an act of both joining and wrapping, the two inextricably linked. I am keen to explore the concept of using the joining of the yarn to create the wrapping of the object in my own work.