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    Michaela Polacek

    *1972, Austria
    Michaela Polacek was born in Vienna, completed an apprenticeship as an office assistant and then worked for five years at an advertising agency. She also obtained a pilot’s license for single-engine airplanes. However, a mental illness forced her to radically change career paths.

    Although her father, an entrepreneur in the wholesale beverage business, encouraged Michaela Polacek to draw as a child, she is a self-taught artist. Following a psychiatrist’s recommendation, she came to atelier gugging in 2002, which she visited regularly for several years. There she experimented exclusively with small-format figurative drawings, to which she always gave imaginative and linguistically original composite titles. Since 2012, she has worked regularly at Caritas Vienna’s Atelier 10. This move was associated in particular with a change in the format of her drawings. Now she concentrates on large and huge paper formats, which she mostly designs with black ink fineliner and pencil. Her stroke has remained delicate and fine. The picture stories she brings into the world have become complex and multi-dimensional. While drawing, she usually kneels in the middle of her work, which she has spread out on the floor. This is how she sketches her subject. Then she switches to a large table and draws out the details in a process-like manner. Some elements always remain empty.

    Human heads appear at the centre of her drawings. Michaela Polacek combines representational and abstract elements to create large graphic formations. This results in dense compositions with various body parts, figures, architectural components, but also food. The art pieces as a whole remain closed, resembling narratives from dreams.

    In 2022, Michaela Polacek covered the corridors of all six floors of Caritas’ new social business hotel Magdas in the Ungargasse, Vienna with her drawings. Her works are regularly shown in exhibitions at Atelier 10. In 2022, large-format blue ballpoint pen drawings that evoke ceramic associations were presented for the first time as part of a group exhibition. Her works were published in 2014 in Kunst, die verbindet (United in Art., Hannah Rieger (ed.), Art Quarterly, Vienna) and in 2022 in ATELIER 10 – now we are ten (Atelier 10 (ed.), Verlag für moderne Kunst, Vienna).

    Her works can be found, for example, in the Steinke Collection, Vienna.
    Michaela Polacek works at Atelier 10 and lives in Vienna.


    Selected works



    © Hannah Rieger
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    All Photos (rooms and artworks): Maurizio Maier
    Concept & Layout: VISUAL°S