Gizela Mickiewicz (b. 1984) is a visual artist based in Warsaw. She creates sculptures, drawings, installations, and modifications of ready-made objects.
Visual artist, sculptor, painter, creator of installations and modyficator of ready-made objects.
She graduated from the Faculty of Art Education at the University of the Arts in Poznań (2007-2012) where she also studied painting (2006-2007). In 2009, she received an award in Samsung Art Master 7, a national art competition for the youngest generation of artists. In 2014, she took part in the artist-in-residence programme at the Gasworks Gallery in London. She also collaborates with the Stereo Gallery in Warsaw.
Mickiewicz deals with everyday objects in her work. She inquires into their mutual relations and relations to people and other objects. She observes them, and explores their origins, functions, and the ways in which they are handled by humans. She examines the whole process of creating an object: from the birth of the idea, sketches of the design, through to its prototype and the final, ready-to-use version. Mickiewicz sometimes takes the objects to pieces and assembles them in a different way, combining the non-matching elements. Other times, she chooses one instant from the manufacturing process of the object and holds it back, or puts it in a different place in the object's timeline.
I'm interested in broadly understood material culture; in the way we operate within the world of objects, and in how we handle them. Objects are obvious, hardly noticeable components of our everyday life, we use them automatically, without reflecting upon them – said the artist in an interview for Culture.pl.
She has no artistic master to follow – she'd rather look for inspiration in areas not related to art, for instance, in materials science. She makes her poetic sculptures with discarded objects, which have noticeable signs of use.
I use new stuff, which I make look old. I control every stage of the work, so even when I use a damaged object, I renovate it first, and only later make it look old again.
Her diploma project was a stool with the seat supported on one side on a toothpick.
In the work Nie za daleko (Not Too Far, 2012) I hollowed out the object itself. By leaving just a shell of a stool, I deprived it of its usability, of its essence.
Immediately after graduating, she held a solo exhibition at the newly opened Frutta Gallery in Rome which revolved around the issue of looking and seeing. The show included works such as an installation made of blinds (Cofanie wzroku na najbliższy plan / Withdrawing Your Gaze to the Foreground, 2013), spatial drawings created with creased paper, the shape of which changes depending on the angle of viewing (Ruchomy punkt odniesienia / Moving Point of Reference, 2013), and an aluminium can sliced in the middle (Jest tylko przód / Persisting Front, 2013).
At the same time, she worked on her solo exhibition titled Pokaz siły / Show of Force in the BWA Zielona Góra, which revolved around the issue of relation of power between objects, and featured her most monumental work, Granica uradzeń – an empty, worn plastic bag suspended in space, and Zbliżenie odpychania / Approximation of Remoteness (2013) – a drawer with a duvet stuck inside, which referred to the rigid order prevailing in the world of objects, and which we unwittingly employ, for we live in a world where every object has its place and assigned use.
I wanted to create a situation of conflict. I wanted to assemble objects against the logic of their everyday use. Approximation of Remoteness resembles a clinch – two things in a grip preventing any action, and blocking each other.
Warunki do okazania się silnym / The Conditions in Which to Appear Strong (2013) is a work in which, as the artist claims, a weak element – a piece of paper – is placed in relation to other objects in such a way that it becomes the strongest element. Another work, Pozostawanie czym się jest / Remaining What One Is is a wiper cut in pieces and spread out in a large rectangle. It is a fragmented object, difficult to identify; it is only by characteristic details that one can recreate in mind its original state.
This is an exhibition of small, strange objects that look a bit like machines of unknown purpose, or like something that at first glance is unrecognisable. Enigmatic, but very visually attractive, I might even say it is a seductive art – said Wojciech Kozłowski, the director of the BWA, at the opening of the Show of Force exhibition (curated by Michał Lasota).
In her recent work in progress, the Czas tła / Background of Time cycle, Mickiewicz deals with the unfinished status of the transitional form of an object before it achieves its final shape. Within such a framework, the artist created works in which the object returns to the raw material it is made of. The other work from this series, Cofanie do przodu / Rolling Back Ahead (2013) is an installation made of a wire fence, a draining rack, a whisk and a strainer, parts of which are partially straightened and reshaped.
The most important sculpture in this series is Czas surowy / Raw Time. It depicts a fragment of a bathroom in different stages of tiling. In this piece, all the elements are separated, and what we see is the intersection of the process of achieving the final structure.
In her most recent projects, Mickiewicz has departed from dealing with objects, and focuses on materiality per se.
Currently, I am interested anew in materials that are not yet utilized in the industry and do not have a specific shape. Material in a pure state. – she revealed in an interview for Culture.pl
Author: Agnieszka Sural, 15.09.2014, transl. GS, 22.09.2014
- Persistant Front, Frutta Gallery, Rome, Italy
- Show of Force, BWA, Zielona Góra
- Połyk na holu, Stereo Gallery, Poznań
Selected group exhibitions:
- As You Can See. Polish Art Today, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
- Nowe obyczaje/New Customs, Galeria Stereo, Warsaw
- Rzeczy wspólne/ Common Things, Art Stations Gallery, Poznań
- Est ist Zeit fur Turn-Schuhe, Kuenstlerhaus Dortmund, Germany
- Prowizorka/ Makeshift, Arsenał Gallery, Poznań
- Arbeitdisziplin, Arsenał Gallery, Poznań
- Będzie dobrze/ It will be all right, Stereo Gallery, Poznań
- The Museum Problem, Frutta Gallery, Rome, Italy
- 6TM 6 Biennale Młodych, Centre for Polish Sculpture, Orońsko
- Walking in the House (with M.Sadowski), Emdes Gallery, Wrocław
- Tarzan, Stary Browar, Poznań
- Barwy ochronne, Kobro Gallery, Łódź
- Każdy krok unosi mnie wyżej/ Each Step Takes Me Higher, Stereo Gallery, Poznań
- preMedytacje/Gesty, preMeditations/ Gestures, BWA Bielsko-Biała
- Samsung Art Master 7, Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw