Monica Grzymala, "The Grey Matter" 2010
My work as an artist focuses on three-dimensional drawing—and the very physical process of searching that this form of drawing entails. Primarily my work is based on doing. The principles that I discover arise procedurally—that is, in the process of making. New work makes new principles. This situational or contingent process is crucial as I re-think and re-present works that might previously have been shown in numerous places.
The site-specific installations are usually designed as temporary images which viewers are able to walk through and around. This "walk-in" quality, this three-dimensionality, encourages a renewal of perception—of specific vantage points, directions, and more. Both the making and the experiencing of the work is more like an evolutionary process rather than a marking, filling or conquering of space with another installation.
Every site-specific piece I create is based on drawings which represent, in a way, an inspection of those brainstorms which arise en route to a new work. In the process of beginning with a single thought and building from that base towards a large-scale installation (often created far from my home studio), I recognize that the real studio is located first of all in my mind. Where else is that real place where we think, imagine and create new images (so long as we remember to take ourselves with us)?
On my way from El Paso Airport to the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX (where I was an artist in residence in 2008), I saw skeletons of dead trees in the desert and thought they looked like random 3D drawings made by nature. For my project entitled "Colours and other site specifics," as a counterpoint to the permanent Chinati collection I collected branches in and around Marfa. I also sawed off some dead trees planted by Donald Judd and painted and arranged these found objects for an installation at the Locker Plant, a building that could be seen from the street and from trains passing by.
Not far from my temporary studio, on the other side of the railway tracks, was (and still is) Robert Arber's printmaking studio. Now, some time later and in another place, I still remember the unique whoosh of the cross-country trains rushing past—that sound, almost like a sonar, ringing out to everyone, in a way seeming to constantly mold this unique landscape. However, in a sparsely populated area like this small, but very particular, town in far West Texas, it did not take very long for Robert and I to meet, get to know each other, and start talking and formulating a new idea. A few days before I left Marfa, the thought was born to work together on Volume 8 of 30 x 30 cm Project.
The origin of Grey Matter I developed later on, after returning to my home studio in Germany. The drawing moves across 4 layers and 4 shades of grey, interwoven around the center of the format to a concentration of lines. These hand-led thoughts, a choreography of proliferating currents, now become visible in the drawing in a personal topological space, a drift of lines. From this beginning to the final form, Robert and I have worked together continuously in order to develop each step of our edition. Not only a new, fruitful cooperation was begun. Both far away in Marfa and here in my studio, there has begun "a dance between a technician and an artist where sometimes the artist leads, and sometimes the technician."
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