"Bringing together the strands of my past": Crochet fanatic recreates life-size replica of bedroom for exhibition

'Bringing together the strands of my past': Crochet fanatic recreates life-size replica of bedroom for exhibition

Tracey Emin found fame by using her personal life, in all its explicit sexual detail, to inspire works of art.

And taking note, 33-year-old Polish-born artist Agata Oleksiak has crocheted a life-size replica of her bedroom bearing messages that document her turbulent past.

For more than six months the crochet fanatic, who is professionally known as Olek, painstakingly wove excerpts from text messages, emails and letters sent by former lovers into the stitched domestic scene.

The vivid creation, which features a heady mix of neon pinks, purples, yellows and greens has gone on display at Tony's Gallery in east London.

Olek the Polish-born artist has exposed her personal history by crocheting a domestic scene for a new exhibition

Olek the Polish-born artist has exposed her personal history by crocheting a domestic scene for a new exhibition

The show's title – 'I do not expect to be a mother but I do
expect to die alone' – is a direct reference to 'I do not expect' – an appliqud blanket produced by Tracey Emin in 2002.

Despite tours across Europe and America, it is the first time Olek has exhibited in the UK.

Describing the show she said: 'It is not just another apartment installation; it is the reflection of life, love, trust and lust in current times.

'It is the progression of my life as a woman, as a female artist put together through text messages, emails and personal objects and experiences… blood, sweat and tears with the sparkle of my colourful cheeky humour, as we all do when carrying on with our lives.'

The show has taken over six
months to produce and every surface of the gallery has been covered with an unknown amount of acrylic wool.

Drawing on her experience of living in London, Olek also produced a crocheted
London black cab displayed outside Tony's in November.

The show's title - 'I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone' - is a direct reference to an appliqud blanket produced by Tracey Emin in 2002

The show's title – 'I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone' – is a direct reference to an appliqud blanket produced by Tracey Emin in 2002

Drawing on her experience of living in London, Olek also produced a crocheted London black cab displayed outside Tony's gallery last November

Drawing on her experience of living in London, Olek also produced a crocheted London black cab displayed outside Tony's gallery last November

She graduated in Cultural Studies from Adam
Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland in 2000 and soon after relocated to New York where she is currently based.

Since then her work has been exhibited in
galleries, museums and public spaces worldwide, and featured in numerous
publications such as The New York Times, CNN and NBC News.

She uses crocheting as a medium both indoors and on the streets and previously stated: 'I think crochet, the way I create it, is a metaphor for the
complexity and interconnectedness of our body and its systems and
psychology.

'The connections are stronger as one fabric as opposed to
separate strands, but, if you cut one, the whole thing will fall apart.'

Her apartment installation – which is a crocheted
replica of her entire studio apartment – is her most famous work to date, and it will feature in the Smithsonian American Art
Museum exhibition, 40 under 40 in Washington DC, later this year.

Originally stitched in her Park Slope apartment, it took 'years' to prepare, and after its debut at the Christopher Henry Gallery in New York it was rumoured that she was looking to sell the work for around 60,000.

Crochet fanatic: Olek in her installation artwork Homage to Keith Haring, 2011

Crochet fanatic: Olek in her installation artwork Homage to Keith Haring, 2011

The current exhibition at Tony's Gallery runs until March 23 2012, visit tonysgallery.com for more information.