Flesh, Pixels, and Bones (2023), Performance/Tapestry, 100 x 130cm

Flesh, Pixels, and Bones performed at 37PK, Haarlem by Saša Skovajsíkova

The piece was performed on April 2nd at 37PK – Platform voor Kunsten, during the opening of Martyna Pekala’s solo exhibition “Not All That Glitters is Pixel”. This exhibition is a result of a 3-month working period at DOC4, 37PK’s residence house in Haarlem, Netherlands. It features a selection of multimedia pieces that meet in the space to create a visual journey through partially virtual, partially physical worlds that reflect on the artist’s personal deep-dive into the online spaces of her childhood and youth.

Through the exploration of certain social media trends and subcultures, Pekala questions her own position within these spaces and how they reflect on her both online and offline identity. How do these identities differ and influence one another? This contemporary existential question attempts to seep through the bubbly, colorful, and glittery fantasy exterior that shows up throughout Pekala’s videos, costumes, tapestries, and other work.

The artists samples and fabricates her own image to lengths that no longer resemble her ‘authentic self’. Instead, they become utopian avatars detached from reality, in attempt to mirror social media’s powerful potential to distort our own perception of self. In this exhibition, the Internet is a subject of neither critique nor endorsement but is rather treated as a neutral environment for various communities that contribute to shaping people’s internal, as well as external worlds; the same way, for instance, a country of one’s origin does. 

Martyna Pekala was selected for this working period and exhibition by 37PK in 2022 from a group of graduating students Fine Arts of the Hogeschool van de Kunsten Utrecht (HKU).