Polish German conceptual artist Alicja Kwade, well known for her enigmatic sculptures and installations that explore concepts of space, time, science, and philosophy in conversation with Maria Abramenko.
In 2017, the artist participated at the 57th Venice Biennale Vive Arte Viva showcasing her cosmological work, Pars Pro Toto (2017). Kwade was selected for the 2019 Roof Garden Commission for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the seventh commissioned piece for the rooftop, following Huma Bhabha’s We Come in Piece (2018) and Cornelia Parker’s Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) (2016). The piece, titled ParaPivot, is the artist’s first solo exhibition at a museum in the US and comprises of two large steel sculptures that intersect and hold nine stones, sourced from around the world, that resemble planets. Her works can be found in the collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, LACMA, Los Angeles, and Frankfurter Kunstverein, among others. The artist lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
When and how have you become an artist?
I believe that usually you are not becoming an artist, but you are one. And if you are lucky, no one will top you, but support you so that you can keep going.
I have always admired your interest in space and science. I wonder where does it come from?
I have a general interest in human nature and I try to understand where this all is coming from. I see a lot of endless „why“ questions, but no answers.
I tried and still try to understand. And I sometimes hope to find possible explanations and possible solutions in science, but I also do search in other fields like philosophy or sociology for example.
In your work you use to experiment with lots of different materials, is it a process of study? Which one you would say is the most precious for you?
There is no “most precious“. Every work has its own requirements, so I actually try to keep them authentic, what they are. I am trying to keep them pure, and still use their symbolic power. So I have to know as much as possible about the material which I am using.
What is the meaning of time in your artworks?
It’s (only) one of many systems I am interested in.
What is the latest news from your studio?
We are trying to ship through COVID times.