Manhattan by Mia Dudek

30 September - 13 November 2021
“Concrete home
Day concrete
Work concrete
Home home
Lift shop
Concrete home
Balcony home
Home home” *

Import Export is excited to present MANHATTAN
 – a new exhibition by Mia Dudek, spanning photography, sculpture, installation and painting. Taking its name from the slang term used to describe large housing estates in Poland, MANHATTAN is spread across three themed exhibition rooms, bringing together work from three new and continuing series – InhabitedFruiting Bodies, and the recently commenced Such a Landscape – as well as three sculptural installations.

Born in Sosnowiec, an industrial town in the south of Poland, Dudek spent her teenage years in Warsaw, before she moved to London to pursue her studies in photography. After completing her BA at London College of Communications (2012) and her MA at The Royal College of Art (2016), she expanded her practice to installation and sculpture – in which she is currently completing a PhD at the University of Lisbon. 


Moving across media and changing home countries – from Poland to England to Portugal – Dudek developed a singular language of expression related to depictions of the domestic and urban spheres. In her practice, the artist continuously probes the relationship between the body and the architectural fabric, while exploring notions of intimacy, displacement and inhabiting. 


Verging between archival fever and nostalgia trip, Dudek has spent the last decade creating a tender, personal register of big bloc architecture and its interiors. They are most often rendered as photography prints but also take the form of seductive sculptural and installation works. Juxtaposing elements such as raw concrete and hard metals with soft expanding foams and organic materials like latex and resin, Dudek’s homely installations are evocative – and at times suggestive – of the day-to-day activities of their supposed inhabitants: soaking in the bathtub, tanning on the balcony or killing time by the carpet hanger – a design staple in the residential areas in Central and Eastern Europe. Adding to the allure of Dudek’s environments are the uncanny, erotic photographs of the multicoloured oyster mushroom, which often proliferate on walls and in corners of rooms designed by the artist – as if proving that life forms can find their way even in the harshest of habitats.

With the exhibition at Import Export, Dudek continues her inquiry into the eroticism of brutalist forms and the quest for the limits of her media.

* Excerpt from “Radioaktywny Blok” [Radioactive Block] (1982) by Brygada Kryzys [Crisis Brigade]