Contemporary sculptor, drawing and installation artist with focus on spatial drawing and architectural intervention. Berlin based Polish born Monika Grzymala in conversation with Maria Abramenko.
I remember you told me the story of how you begun working with tape, can you repeat it for our readers?
When I was a student my work used to be figurative in the classical way, I arranged figures in the room to describe relationships between body and space. In a conversation my teacher questioned how to articulate this relationship in a different way and so I started to draw a continuous line in a sketchbook that moved across the pages and continued on the wall. Through that physical step I learned that drawing can not only exist within two dimensions, it is thoroughly a corporal, three dimensional experience, generating an autarkic field of energy through my gestures and interactions in that particular space. Using tape was a logical step and organic evolution of that moment. With the tape, a line on a roll, it is easy to travel with. Tape offers many possibilities to create whole architectural interventions.
You used to define your works in kilometres, how come?
I describe my site specific works with tape as “Raumzeichnung” the German term for “spatial drawing”. Space and body bear a complex relation to each other based on pace and motion. In my site specific drawings there are different states of energy and adhesive tape is a great analogy of the line. My spatial drawings are related to both, the space and my physical expression of it. In the process of making the work there are no corrections and no changes, means the piece is a time capsule as well. I am usually working with no assistants to keep the process a genuine and intuitive as possible. In short, defining the works in kilometres of used tape describes my physical and mental process in relativity to space and time in that temporary intervention.
Which one of your installations you remember as the most complex and what were the challenges?
In a way every work I have made in the past years had an own field of complexity and potential of problematics. My so far largest work “Helix (Raumzeichnung Uppsala)” 2018 in Uppsala Science Park Sweden is a 25 metres high sculpture growing from the floor to the glass roof in the atrium. It was designed as a site specific, permanent art project for the new building. For structural calculations and the production of the giant sculpture I was working with a whole team of engineers, metal workers and sculptors. The most challenging part was to take my intuitional thinking as an artist into analytical and systematic standard terms of engineering and to communicate this in the middle of the process.
Which are the artists that inspire you and what art movement would you refer your practice to?
My art practice is mainly motivated through motion, traveling and looking at moving patterns like birds in flight, gestures and things we see randomly. But also artists like Nasreen Mohamedi, Fred Sandback, Guo Fengyi, Hans Hartung, just to name a few, are working with the language of the line and keep me fascinated by the many expressions it can offer. Artist friends like Nikolaus Gansterer and our encounters in working together on dialoguing exhibitions are always a great experience and source of inspiration.
What are your future plans?
In the past year of the pandemic I learned to make my future plans not too far away from the present situation. So, I prefer to use the word “hope” instead of “plan” – because everything can change. My future hopes are to continue traveling and to create more site specific drawings, that very long line of my work has not come to an end yet.
Artist: Monika Grzymala / @monika.grzymala
Art Editor: Maria Abramenko / @mariabramenko
Assistant: Antoine Schafroth / @a.schafroth