Gogolin seeks to evoke memories and feelings of longing, loneliness and desire and comprises two main elements. The first is a hand-crafted life-size wooden Polish chata (summerhouse) built in an Eastern European vernacular style, containing numerous drawings and paintings. The second is a large-scale film referencing the make-shift cinemas that were set up in refugee camps in the Great Bialowieza Forest where Mania’s mother watched Hollywood movies.
This new commission is the culmination of a number of the artist’s lines of enquiry into the act of looking, representation and appropriation. At the heart of the project is an exploration of family history and roots refracted through art and cinema history, as well as that of Europe during World War Two. Much of Mania’s work explores his relationship to his parents’ status as refugees from the Second World War. His mother is Polish and arrived in England via India. His German father was captured as a paratrooper and brought to England as a prisoner of war. The artist’s up-bringing was filled with tales of his parents’ extraordinarily turbulent experiences and these feed into the complex personal allegories that he creates in his work.