Gosia Wlodarczak is an Australian process artist who explores the mind’s relationship with the world through the senses via her site-specific, large-scale drawings.
Falling severely ill and spending two weeks in hospital, you read all seven volumes of Marcel Proust’s novel À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time). What was your perception of your art before this and how did it change your process of making art?
Before my encounter with Proust’s novel I suppose I was more focused on a traditional approach to creating, thinking about the artwork as a finished product with methodology divided into steps: a concept, then sketches for resolving composition, final structure, then execution… I think at that time I couldn’t give away my artist/creator power over my work to the process in time which is fluid and endless, open – the planning of every step from conception to execution was how I was working.
Given your artwork is influenced by process, location and performance, do you have certain guidelines or a structure that you follow to keep your work consistent?
In order to give my works and my process the freedom, independence, evolutionary possibilities, I devised a set of rules which distance me from the dictatorship of ‘the creator’. I am focussed on the sense of vision and process of looking – not seeing. (I have) no one vantage point. I move during drawing to behave like we do in everyday situations. I always draw what I see. I never, ever, draw from imagination… I do not meditate, my mind cannot drift during the drawing process – I am focused on the actual moment in time and space. I recognise all shapes as holding the same importance.
How do you keep yourself motivated during long performances? I can imagine drawing and using your whole body for three hours would be quite strenuous?
It is physically and emotionally extremely exhausting but that is the nature of my process. I stay focused on the actual moment and all impulses notated by my senses and received by my brain in this very moment. To keep my body able to cope I exercise. I walk every day and do stretching exercises.
Most artists chase the process of having exhibitions, selling work, having work collected/archived etc. to generate an audience and income. Due to a large proportion of your work being ephemeral, is it difficult to retain an audience and survive as an artist?
It is difficult, but fortunately lately I have been invited to many project and the invitations still keep coming. Hopefully this will continue…
You’ve been posting digital works as part of a social media performance called ARTIST NOT @ WORK. What are you trying to achieve or express through these images?
This project belongs to the TimeArt category where one sets a time commitment to the creative process. It is an endurance process and a creative challenge from which I hope to be able to achieve the realisation of presence in the very moment of time which is so potent in photography… This time-based ‘one artwork everyday’ concept rotates around and is my humorous art-dialogue with these two phrases: An artist is always working and a woman’s work is never done… Each month for the duration of the project (an Art Calendar) I am presenting a different idea (social/cultural commentary) and work with it every day of the month dressed up in designer cloths from my extensive collection. The outfits are sometimes unsuitable to the task presented to apply higher status to the subject and sometimes point to the subject just by the way I style them. Listing names of cloths/shoes designers is my way of paying respect to the creative work of the design industry and the people who create the man-made world around us. The photographic part of the project is done by my partner, Longin Sarnecki, with whom I work and collaborate on my performance projects.
If you could collaborate with any artist, in any medium, past or present, who would it be and what would you ideally create?
I do not think about collaborating with other artists on projects hands-on… but if I have to answer your question – on this stage and in context of my current project which talks about clothes and how people style themselves in order to present and represent their personas to others, I would like to collaborate with a fashion designer. If I have to pick (it would be one of) 33 Poets from Perth, Romance was Born, Wai Yang from Singapore – or being a utopian, unrealistic dreamer – Comme des Garcones.