press release

Wyspa Institute of Art in Gdańsk is proudly introducing video works by Monika Weiss

"Monika Weiss' way of operating at the edge is to expose her boundary, her envelope, that is, her skin, to continuous radical feedback and performative definition." - George Quasha, Conceiving Body: Remarks on the Side/Elytron (spirit and body are only two wings) - Monika Weiss: Vessels, 2004.

"Weiss makes drawings with her body, leaving a trail or trace of her movements, revealing the presence of the living body of the artist." - Pennina Barnett, Performing the Drawing, 2003.

Through drawing, performance, video, and installation, New York-based Polish artist Monika Weiss creates environments that relate to the body and to the tension characterizing that peculiar space it inhabits between biology and culture. In her drawings, an anonymous, alienated silhouette appears, posturing in undefined states of waiting, or reacting to the unknown. In her performative installations, the viewer encounters scenes of repetition and ritual, counterpoised by projected video documenting the action. In one of the Weiss' installation series Ennoia the artist immerses herself for several hours inside a water-filled chalice, while a projected image of the immersion and the underwater sounds mirror her action. Such works combine the qualities of endurance and duration with symbolic form reminiscent of medieval paintings and with the formal simplicity of Minimalism. Weiss most recent New York solo exhibitions “Monika Weiss: Vessels” (Chelsea Art Museum, 2004) and “Monika Weiss: Intervals” (Remy Toledo Gallery, 2004) contextualized Weiss's artistic development over the last several years. Vessels included a new multi-media performative installation in collaboration with sound artist Stephen Vitiello. Intervals was a two-person show together with Carolee Schneemann’s Infinity Kisses II. Weiss current solo exhibition Phlegethon/Milczenie opens March 4 at the Inter-Galerie, Potsdam, Germany. Her work is also presented at the DIVA media festival, which opens March 11 in New York.

Monika Weiss received her Master's degree in painting and drawing from the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw in 1990. She has been a visiting artist at universities in Europe and the United States, including School of The Art Institute of Chicago, 2002; University of Maryland, 1999; Georgia State University School of Art and Design, 1997-98; Spelman College, 1996; and Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts, 1994-95. In New York City Weiss exhibited at the Chelsea Art Museum, 2003 and 2004; El Museo del Barrio, 2003; and Diapason Gallery, 2002. Solo exhibitions include also Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta,1997; BMB Gallery, Amsterdam, 1993 and 1996; and Galerie Espace Degree, Luxembourg, 1995. Her works are in the collection of the Albertina Museum, Vienna and Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art among others. In 2003 her works were part of Art in General's Annual Artists' Benefit StudioTour; the Whitney Museum of American Art's Family Day; and Saatchi & Saatchi's Harlem Art Project/Ray of Light benefit auction. She is currently a member of the New York-based artists' and curators' organization Nomads + Residents. In 2005 Weiss’ upcoming projects include a monographic exhibition “Monika Weiss: Recent Works” at the Lehman College Art Gallery in New York and a drawing show at the Galerie Samuel Lallouz, Montreal. In 2006 her new long-term installation Ennoia will be featured as part of “You Won't Feel a Thing,” curated by Aneta Szylak, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin.

ARTIST STATEMENT My work explores relationships between the body and the spaces around it. I am interested in the body and its location at the boundaries of culture and biology. I work in various media, including drawing, sculpture, installation, and performance, incorporating materials such as water, paint, stone, canvas, paper, and the human body, especially my own. Recurring motifs such as sculpted vessels filled with fluids, acts of immersion in water and acts of individual or communal drawing appear in my work to address notions of trace, erasure, and disappearance. I am interested in the interplay of symbolic and formal aspects in representation of human figure in medieval and renaissance painting such as in Rogier van der Weyden’s work. Concurrently I am inspired by the formal and conceptual simplicity of Minimalism.

Drawing has remained the foundation of my work. Drawing is the beginning and the culmination of most of my pieces, as it initiates a concept and carries it through to its conclusion. In charcoal on paper drawings series Skulenie (“curled-up”) created in my studio, anonymous silhouettes appear, posturing in undefined states of waiting, or reacting to the unknown. In an ongoing series Rape of Europa made with pencil and hair-dye on paper, abstract stains are counterpoised with architectural views of a chalice. All of my work begins with drawing and it permeates the performance and installation projects, remaining as a trace or evidence of performance after the act and acquiring properties of sculpture. In the interactive, public series of installations involving a communal act of drawing, such as Drawing the City, I invite others to join me in the process of leaving mark of presence within the space of canvas or paper, which, covering the pavement of a street or a floor of a gallery, becomes a living organism, contingent and dependent on the flux of our energies.

My current work includes installations and objects that combine elements of drawing, sculpture, video projection, sound, and performance. I create environments that act as metaphors for the states of suspension in space and time. These sculptural installations and performances are comprised of long-term actions involving states and endurance, often for long periods. In these works, the viewer encounters scenes of repetition and ritual, juxtaposed with projected video documenting the action. In one of my recent sculpture series Ennoia, a video image of my curled up body is projected onto a water-filled sculpted chalice. The series suggests the presence of my body once immersed in the chalice for several hours, now seen only as a virtual reflection through the water and on the surface of sculpture.


only in german

Monika Weiss - video works
Kuratorin: Aneta Szylak
23.03.05, 6 pm