Briefly describe the work you do.
I’m working with light-sound installations. I have very traditional sculptural background but since a few years I’m in installations link to the idea of light and darkness. It touches the question how we remember things when we do not see them anymore. How those things changes in our memory and perception. In my recent works I use flickering light as a reminiscent of something ending, and I juxtapose it with the sound that makes one think of the beginning. This creates a relationship of opposition, and this is what interest me the most.
I think of my art practice as a trace of presence, a reference to memory, and perception. It is a desire to preserve the moment. My work is about trying to keep a trace of a human touch and also displays the inability to do so; instead the desire to maintain the trace and history of an object reveals the opposite. It evokes an absent human, and shows that we cannot keep anything. The more we try to hold onto one’s trace, the more we pinpoint the lack of one. Therefore my work is more about trying. It is an act of meditation of our fragile and temporal nature with the essential value being the permanent trace left by the human hand through creative action.
In some works I choose ordinary objects that makes one think about vanity and elevate this mundane object to the dignity of a work of art. By choosing objects with marks of history, or creating them with visible traces of gestures, I mediate the realm of memory and the realm of experience through the work I do.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I graduated from a university considered one of the most conservative and craftsmanship-oriented in Poland, that I deeply respect craftsmanship. I have studied and acquired it with great humbleness because I believe it is an essential language both for conveying something more and for learning new media.
This is why after finishing Academy my goal was to find a synthesis of traditional (classic) and modern concepts of sculpture, and to combine the consideration for the traditional sculptural technique with the spatial arrangement. In my understanding – or maybe I should say feeling – the traditional sculptural technique was at some point synonyme to trace of a human hand left on a surface of a work. At the time I did the works “Open Sculpture” (http://www.ewawesolowska.co.uk/portfolio-item/04-2012-opening-up-sculpture/) and “Safesurround” (http://www.ewawesolowska.co.uk/portfolio-item/03-2012-safesurround/). Both of them were informed by the traditional formation of sculpture – a visible ‘artist’s gesture’ on the surface of work with the arrangement of the space in which the work is exhibited.
The first of them was very strongly referring to Robert Morris exhibit from Green Gallery. It was my doubt if the minimal haven’t runs out nowadays. Is there sense to repeat it over and over again. Isn’t it getting us too dangerously close to design…
In my opinion, the new thinking about spatial art doesn’t exclude traditional methods in the sense of work that leaves the trace of the sculptor’s hand, and the spatial arrangement doesn’t have to imply purely geometrical, abstract solutions. The traces left by a gesture -natural and imperfect, hand and tool – are incompletely defined or expressed. Interruptions of the form leave room for speculation and interpretation by the viewer. I believe that new things can be communicated with a traditional language which doesn’t have to equal a stylistically stiff form of representation.
In the course of time, I moved into light-sound installations, but still in my works I involve elements that are created with the respect to traditional sculpture craftmanship. In one of my recent works shadows are cast onto the walls from suspended objects which are sculptural forms created by an impression of the squeezing hand (“Music Box” https://www.youtube.com/watchv=SHhCntvzO6k&list=UUWakmkpCIc54ypUKkHP6Jew) so I think my background – even though sometimes I try to reject it – will be always part of my thinking about my art practice.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
After a few residency programs I learned how adapt to different studios as quick as it is possible. Few years ago I was in a studio every morning from day to day.
In the course of time, I have appreciated the importance of art theory, my own statement and philosophy of art. At this point, concept and my artistic framework play a very important role for me. As, to convey them, I use the language I acquired during my education years – the craftsmanship – so my practice is a mixture of working on concepts which I can do not necessarily in a studio, and the studio practice.
I think one day I will miss a day to day studio practice but now my work has a little nomadic character. I learned to build my studio whenever I am. Moreover every single time my work evolve influenced by different places. Also the materials I can find on spot determine my projects and how I develop it.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Maybe I will say what was the only one role I envisioned myself in when I started making art, and when I finished Academy of Fine Arts. I was seeing myself as traditional sculptor with a daily studio practice. So I can say all my approach to art, along together with seeing myself as an artist is something I haven’t envisioned myself in few years ago.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
Some say it about waiting for the moment when ideas comes to you. There is a lot of truth in it. I can’t find a rule. I don’t have any. I work all the time.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
This time moved me from traditional filled sculptural form the one could only walk around into installations the one can walk in. At some point the filled sculpture has become insufficient for me. A desire to enter inside, and feeling it has appeared around five years ago. Then I moved towards light-sound installations where visitors are activating different parts of work by passing by (O=O https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXP_vzpkxwI&list=UUWakmkpCIc54ypUKkHP6Jew).
It this five years I moved my interest from the literal trace of human touch into mental trace. Although in a first glance, when you look at my works, it has changed a lot, it is about the same questions. Generally I think those questions will remain the same in art no matter how the way of development will change.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
All. Every single person I meet can have influence on what I do.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
Ewa Wesolowska, born in 1982 is a visual artist working with environmental sculpture and light-sound installations. She works in ‘dialogue’ with the place of exhibition, through this site-specific way of working the object and space develop and transform as a whole. The work becomes part of the space. Through creating works of installation, Wesolowska wants the viewer becomes a part of the work through their interaction and participation.
Wesolowska graduated from Cracow Academy of Fine Arts obtaining a very traditional training in sculpture. She has participated in artist-in-residence programs (La Napoule Art Foundation, La Rectoria Art Foundation, DordtYart Foundation, Camac Art Foundation) where she has absorbed more conceptual approaches for her work. Subsequently she is refining her own visual and conceptual vocabulary that has emerged through her focus on the intersections of sculpture and spatial analysis.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.