In her installation Things we don’t talk about, Renata Poljak poetically elaborates psychological and social aspects of female aging and sickness, referring to the (still) omnipresent confined treatment of these issues by contemporary society.
In Renata’s latest work, hands run the show. They are crucial for understanding the work and are the main depicted motif, both in the sculpture and the video story of a woman who rejects bodily inadequacy in old age and denies the observer’s view which categorises her as the Other (old/infirm). Optimism and energy emanated by the protagonist abolish the alienating face of illness. Destigmatising old age and illness seemed to Renata as an inevitable and utterly logical connection with the immediacy of youth presented in the humorous installation I, the Housewife!. By rejecting general and commonplace ideas of illness and old age imbued with negative connotations, while blossoming youth is always positively associated, the artist in this work for the first time liberates herself from direct autobiographic references. With this unusually emotional work, custom-made for this exhibition, Renata Poljak seems to unveil an area untarnished by ideologies, and to open new spaces of, I dare say, freedom.
Excerpt from the text by Leila Topic “ Staging Our Realty”, written for the personal exhibition of Renata Poljak in Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb 2013/2014.