past Exhibition

Monika Grzymala


February 2 - March 16, 2024

Monika Grzymala is listening with her hands. Based on the articulation of the line, her work weaves her thoughts continuously into the space before her. Describing the creative process as one of immediacy, her works are often site-specific and carry a sense of bodily expression. Perhaps best known for her large-scale installations, and hand-made paper works, her second solo exhibition at BERG Contemporary serves as an excellent example of her vibrancy as an artist and connector. Based on a never-before-seen series of molded cotton paperworks, the title of the exhibition derives from her papermaking studio in Berlin, situated below a music school. Integrating the sounds from the surrounding spaces around her, lines start to form, melodies turn to lifelines, wordless poems, -concertos in space.

When entering the exhibition, we are confronted with the rhythm and flow of an all-encompassing tape structure, a Raumzeichnung, and become suddenly ostensibly more aware of our own scale, as the black tape has served as an extension of the artist’s shifting, shapes and gestures before we arrived. As described by the artist herself;
“All the sounds and stories are already existing, and constantly interweaving. When I make art, I just need to pick up the songlines and make them visible in the new work.”

Past the lines of the paperwork, trickling by like traces in snow, we come across Kinesphere, a braided sculpture floating in the air, inside the innermost room. Often described as the spatial consequence of our movements, the traditional geometry of a kinesphere is destined to support our personal space and body territory, a supporting structure for personal interactions. An evolving piece, the white paper wirework has been exhibited twice before, continuously shapeshifting and incorporating itself into its surroundings, as if it’s growing with every place and person it encounters. Thus, in true kinesphere manner, our stories and being there become invisibly interconnected to the shapes and gestures of the ones that entered its realm before us. It therefore serves just as much of an architectural intervention as her tape works, within poetic measures.

A common denominator in Grzymala’s works tends to be growth, the line has no end, and similar to plants and trees they continue to grow, but are often temporary. Her handmade paper works come from trees, their lines as important as the paper surface itself. The artist has rightly pointed out the fact that by drawing, we are not only exploring what’s inside of us, but when we draw the ground, it also draws us. Everything is reciprocal, similar to a tree that needs someone to hear it fall for it to make a sound, otherwise, it’s just a rapid movement of particles. The songs are there, but someone has to listen.

Raumzeichnung: The German word for spatial drawing


Monika Grzymala (b. 1970) is a contemporary sculptor, drawing, and installation artist. After professional stone sculpture and restoration training, she studied Fine Arts at the Academy of Arts in Karlsruhe, the University of Arts in Kassel and Hamburg (Germany). Her numerous international projects and exhibitions include Stellingen ice skating rink Hamburg (Germany), The Drawing Center New York (USA), Chinati Foundation Marfa TX (USA), The Drawing Room London (UK), The Fruitmarket Edinburgh (UK), Tokyo Art Museum Tokyo (Japan), MoMA Museum of Modern Art New York (USA), 18th Biennale of Sydney (Australia), Hamburger Kunsthalle (Germany), Arter Istanbul (Turkey), Arsenal Montreal (Canada), Kampnagel Hamburg (Germany), The Morgan Library & Museum New York (USA), Reykjavik Art Museum (Iceland), Albertina Vienna (Austria), MSK Museum of Fine Arts Ghent (Belgium), HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin (Germany), EACC Espai d‘Art Contemporani Castello (Spain), Des Moines Art Center and Israel Tifereth Synagogue Des Moines Iowa (USA), Hubben Uppsala Science Park Uppsala (Sweden), Dian Woodner Collection New York (USA), Konsthalle Gothenburg (Sweden), Shaping Space Open Lab Berlin (Germany) and many more.

She is a recurring lecturer and visiting professor at the University of Arts HBK Braunschweig Germany and Die Angewandte University of Applied Arts Vienna Austria, and has numerous publications dedicated to her work. Her work can be found in some of the world’s most prominent collections. This exhibition is her fifth collaboration with curator Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir, director and founder of BERG Contemporary. Grzymala lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Text: Kristína Aðalsteinsdóttir
BERG  Contemporary
BERG Contemporary
Smiðjustígur 10
Klapparstígur 16
101 Reykjavík
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