Angelika Markul was born on 15th December, 1977, in Szczecin. She authors videos, video installations, drawings, and art objects.
Visual artist, author of videos, video installations, drawings, and art objects.
In 2003, Angelika Markul graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris, where she studied in Christian Boltanski’s multimedia studio. She collaborates with the Parisian Galerie Frédéric Giroux, and has lived and worked in Paris since 1997.
The artist constructs meticulous installations, most of which constitute video projections. She particularly likes working in situ (as in the case of Szkoła nr 17 (School No. 17). The installations are built mainly using natural materials – above all wood (e.g. Les Oubliées (The Forgotten, 2006)), but also black foil. Light is always an important element of Markul’s works, and she often uses fluorescent lamps. The starting point for her artistic quests is the natural world full of mysteries and hidden from human sight, as well as the secret life of plants and animals which passes unnoticed by man. Anne Laure Stolz argues that:
Angelika Markul is a visionary. With the eye of a video artist, she is always on the look-out, observing everyday life and the world that surrounds her, in a constant search for images. She uses these materials which are sometimes simple sketches and sometimes complete videos, adding them to her works and thoughts with unquestionable enthusiasm.
In Markul’s works Michał Jachuła sees:
a desire to feel and absorb the atmosphere of fear and anxiety, of the untold, of the state of uncertainty and of critical moments through different senses.
Angelika Markul’s videos are strikingly understated, leaving open the question of whether the observed images recorded by the artist are real or were artificially created by her. This ambiguity is present even in the film Ma nature (My Nature, 2005), showing an extremely fast-growing exotic plant (the video was presented in a small room with a wet floor. The purpose of Markul’s works is always to build of a special atmosphere and to arouse a feeling of danger and anxiety, as well as irresistible curiosity (for example The Bath, 2004, a video screened during the Nuit Blanche in October 2005, on the walls of the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris).
In 2005 Markul returned to her primary-school memories from Poland in the Spazio Culturale La Rada in the Italian Locarno, a cultural institution located in an abandoned school. The artist transformed the shelves, school desks, and tables left in the classrooms, the staff room, and the corridors, turning them into sculptures and installations and changing their meaning and purpose. She built containers for wood from benches and black foil, she scattered powdered chalk under a blackboard, and she screened her videos in surprising places. Anne Laure Stolz defined School No. 17 as:
an attic with souvenirs of childhood, of her school days spent in Poland, and of dreams born in the classroom which helped her [the artist] escape from the existence in a harsh and punitive system devoid of games and toys.
Markul’s interventions evoked an atmosphere of school discipline, but broken by the world of imagination.
The Pantagruel video installation, created for an exhibition in Turin in 2006, was placed in a small room. On the ceiling the artist projected the interiors of a body (an artificial one, created by Markul in her studio), which performed its duties of chewing and digesting by constantly inflating and deflating. Visitors entering the room got the disturbing impression of being inside it.
At the exhibition Sen muchy / A Dream of a Fly in the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw in 2006, Markul turned the exhibition space into a fragment of an enigmatic world. She lowered the entrance to the gallery significantly, and placed dried insects inside fluorescent lamps on the corridor, while the main hall was dominated by a wooden installation. As a whole, it seemed like reality viewed under a magnifying glass or a microscope.
It is a land of children’s imagination, fairy tales and fears. Filled with scary visions, but also a kind of poetry of ordinary life. The spectator is confronted with the marginalised reality which exists around us, but that we often choose to ignore.
– wrote Katarzyna Krysiak about the exhibition.
In 2005 two of Markul’s films: Les Oubliées / The Forgotten and Choses vues / Things Seen, were shown on a hanging screen and a monitor hidden among wooden boards. The first one presented an abandoned attic, which was brought back to life thanks to the birds. The new inhabitants covered the floor with droppings, but also introduced the ruthless struggle for survival typical of nature. Choses vues / Things Seen was a compilation of short sequences, also dedicated to animals, their daily struggles, the never-ending fight, and the omnipresent death and decomposition (a bird tearing a rat into pieces, pigeon corpses, a confused fly, a cockroach with a dead insect). The world of insects was also the main theme of the Parole d’insecte exhibition (2006). The installation created by Markul consisted of a seemingly abandoned wooden shed, casting a greenish light, lamps placed at various points of the room, and living insects. The sounds emitted by the imprisoned cicadas were electronically enhanced. The parallel world of insects surrounding men is also a recurring motif in the artist’s drawings.
Author: Karol Sienkiewicz, December 2007, transl. Bozhana Nikolova, May 2015
Photos courtesy of the Foksal Gallery
Official website of the artist: www.angelikamarkul.net.
- 2005 – Szkoła nr 17 / School No. 17 – Spazio Culturale La Rada, Locarno; The Promise – Chatelet Theatre, Paris, France (with Olivier Manoury);
- 2006 – Sen muchy / A Dream of a Fly – Foksal Gallery, Warsaw; Parole d’insecte, video installation – Galerie Frédéric Giroux, Paris, France;
- 2007 – La Clarté Souterraine – Kewenig Galerie, Cologne;
- 2008 – Iceberg, installation – Znaki Czasu Centre of Contemporary Art, Toruń.
Selected collective exhibitions:
- 2005 – Pantagruel Syndrome – Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin; J’en réve – Fondation Cartier, Paris, France; I still Believe in Miracles – Museum d’Art Moderne Contemporain de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; L’art et la ville – Museum Luxembourg, Paris, France; Young Artist’s Works – Contemporary Art Exhibition, Paris; Nuit blanche – Méta Zone, Paris;
- 2006 – Prix Altadis Arts Plastiques – MK2 Bibliothèque, Paris; FIAC – Grand Palais du Louvre, Paris; Via Space – Trøndelag Senter for Samtidskunst, Trondheim, Norway; Nuit blanche – Canal St. Martin, Paris; La Force de l’art – video installation, Hudson au Grand Palais, Paris; Il Museo insostenibile – Spazio culturale La Rada, Locarno;
- 2007 – FIAC – Grand Palais du Louvre, Paris; Ponowoczesność i życie wieczne / Postmodernism and Eternal Life – Arsenał City Gallery, Poznań; Pamięć tej chwili z odległości lat, które miną / The Memory of This Moment from the Distance of Years – Schindler’s Factory, Kraków; Les David – Paris; Torno subito catto 2 – Substitut, Berlin; Art Brussels 2007 – Brussels, Belgium; Galerie Salvador Diaz, Madrid, Spain; Musée BankART LIFE à Yokohama; Cosmic Galerie à Paris; Biennale d’Issy les Moulineaux;
- 2008 - Póki my żyjemy... / While We Leave performance, Christian Boltanski, Jean Kalman, Franck Krawczyk, Angelika Markul, Reduta, Warsaw; organised by the Foksal Gallery.