Installation Europeans Only by Paweł Kowalewski in the exhibition Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, 2019 | © NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, photo: Connolly Weber Photography

Paweł Kowalewski

The artwork Europeans Only by Paweł Kowalewski was part of the exhibition Tell me about yesterday tomorrow (Nov. 28, 2019 until Oct. 18, 2020).

About the artist

Paweł Kowalewski (born in Warsaw in 1958) is a Polish artist and entrepreneur. His work encompasses paintings, sculptures, installations, and performances, many of them making reference to historical events and political conditions. He is especially well known as the co-founder of the Gruppa artists’ collective, which was active from 1982 to 1989. The group rebelled against political conditions in communist Poland through a provocative, neo- expressionist painting style. Beyond his artistic practice, Kowalewski is also successful in the communication sector. In 1991, he founded Communication Unlimited, one of Poland’s first advertising agencies.

Europeans Only, 2010

Lightbox, 150 x 200 cm

Paweł Kowalewski’s work titled Europeans Only is part of his Not allowed series, for which the artist has been documenting prohibition and warning signs that he encounters on his worldwide travels since 2010. The sign reading Europeans Only is on display at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, which opened in 2010. It testifies to the racist segregation and self-declared supremacy of the part of the South African population that was of European origin during the apartheid regime. Alongside the museum presentation of the series in the form of light boxes, the artist also printed his collection of prohibition signs as postcards in 2011 and distributed them at souvenir shops and tourist destinations. Kowalewski also exhibited work from this cycle at the Propaganda Gallery in Warsaw in 2012, juxtaposing images of harmless everyday life against historical photographs of totalitarian regimes, and using photos to involve visitors directly. His work centers on the question of how ideological systems use violence to determine who belongs and who is excluded.