Mexico City /
Polish artist Alicja Kwade is on a quest into current social systems that aim to create experiences immersive lessons based on complex concepts of time, space, philosophy and science. His enigmatic sculptures and installations make us question our perception of reality.
For this new exhibition, Silent Matter, the artist has selected rough obsidian stones, hard to find in this scale and quality, then cut them in half and finely polished to accentuate their reflective qualities, allowing for a deep, dark surface. with which the artist intervenes. Such interaction between the two essential elements reminds us of the vast darkness of the universe and the astronomical events in its unfathomable history, from its creation to the present day.
The artist creates the pieces with an exploration of three-dimensional space and the parameters of our perception, having various mobiles of different scales floating above the heads of the audiences as they rise from the ground like constellations of natural stones, and acting as symbolic representations of orbiting planets or particles held instead by invisible forces made visible. Its stones contain compressed time and knowledge of the universe.
Born in Katowice, Poland, Alicja Kwade studied at the University of the Arts, has participated in the Venice Biennale, and in various exhibitions including solo shows in Berlin, Neuss, Cambridge, Shanghai, and London, among other cities.
You were at CdMx to present Silent Matter. What was the reaction of the public?
The reactions were overwhelming. I really wanted to see the exhibition, but I didn’t push myself or have any expectations. I think about 1,800 people attended the opening, I feel like I spoke to 1,500 and greeted 1,000; I had many interesting and fun conversations.
How does the passage of time affect your work?
Like everyone, I have changed over the years. I deal with time because it is this incomprehensible natural force, one of many that essentially shapes our lives and our reality. In general, I think the interest in time is overrated. We just give it so much meaning because the force hits us directly, ends our lives, and that’s why we sing and write and philosophize about it so much. There are hardly any poems or songs about the electromagnetic force, this time the thing is very human, so I am afraid that I am, although I try to observe it with a non-personal distance.
How did you decide to be an artist?
I didn’t decide, I always have been, and life was generous enough to allow me to do this.
What contribution does science and nature have in part of your work?
Scientific questions and approaches to solutions, as well as particularly inexplicable natural phenomena, are my source of inspiration.
How do you go from conceptual to intellectual art without losing the minimalist style?
The formal reduction arises from the rigor of the concept and the attempt to add as little as possible.
What’s next for Alicja Kwade?
Artists are always asked this at the opening of an exhibition. The following is how I wish to answer and not add anything: There are three museum shows planned this year: in Hong Kong, Germany and Zapopan, at the MAZ. I am happy to return to Mexico soon. _
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Photography: Caylon Lawrence