ARTIST in CON.TEXT: Michal Martychowiec

the beginning the end, 2010, installation - thread, dimensions variable (B)the beginning the end, 2010

Michal Martychowiec (b. 1987) creates series of photographs, videos, drawings, neons and multimedia installations. He graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. He lives and works in Berlin and London. His artistic practice is inspired by classical and ancient art and moreover philosophy and aesthetic of the Far East. The intellectual characteristic of his most recent installations shows his greater interest and involvement in the tradition of conceptualism of the 20th century. Martychowiec uses its tradition to construct his own particular artistic language. Another interesting facet of his work comprises his documentary projects, in which the author creates his own narrative by photographing selected fragments of other artists’ works and using them as a basis for a mosaic of new contexts. The first such project was carried out on the Awake and Dream exhibition in Palazzo Dona in Venice. Another one consisted of a video recording installation “Pénétrables” by Jesus Rafael Soto. The video work was presented together with Soto’s earlier works at Signum Project in Lodz in 2015.

“Klimax means ladder in Greek and ladder can lead upwards as well as downwards or indeed positioned horizontally over a hole lead one at the same level back and forth. Climax is then nothing more than a point of a considerable change indeed.”                    Michal Martychowiec

Where are you based?

My main studio is in Berlin and it is where I produce most of my work. Additionally, I am based in London.

What is your artistic background?

I would say I became interested in visual art relatively late. My background therefore had more to do with sciences and humanities overall. I’ve neither been particularly interested nor enjoyed manual experimentation which I believe is an essential characteristic of a painter. I loathed painting and drawing. Photography became my initial tool and it has to a considerable degree shaped the way I construct my understanding of space and how I visualize it. Or perhaps it made the space and seeing/perceiving important aspects of my practice. I am still not very fond of painting, but drawing has become a form of paramount importance to me. I think it has in fact distinct similarities to photography in the sense of how directly it links the idea with the visual creation.

How would you describe your work?

It is non-descriptive. Its visual form can vary drastically, to an extent where it might appear not necessarily closely related. I think however all of my “projects” are related, they might create a visual bricolage but what keeps them together is conceptual and contextual coherency.

What types of media do you work with?

I work with mixed media and I understand it not as a mixture of distinct media, but one medium precisely. If I were to make a list with the terms – used historically, it would certainly contain photography, drawing, video, installation, object, neon, etc. I think however making these distinctions is not only obsolete, but also irrelevant.

What are you working on at the moment?

I work on several projects simultaneously. Such approach has helped me to discover all these at first separate works are indeed interrelated. I also believe it is better to allow more time on anything you work on. Your ideas can then settle down and clarify. This is also how I reject many ideas or how I have developed or conjoined others. Some projects require travelling or various kinds of preparation, or even venturing into bureaucratic endeavours of being granted permissions. If I was to list specific projects there would be many. Apart from several works which I am currently slowly bringing to completion, I have in mind a film trilogy. The first film had been completed towards the end of the last year -“The shrine to summon the souls”. The two following films will be shot in China and Central America.

“Climax” is the theme of our third print issue. What does the word “Climax” mean to you?

Climax is a situation where the current direction of development (I do understand this as development of events, of movement, of civilisation) cannot be sustained any longer and changes. It can either turn around or simply bend over. It is in a way a situation where accumulated energy overflows its container so that it causes a distortion to a currently maintained movement. I wouldn’t affiliate a climax necessarily with a peak of some sort. Klimax means ladder in Greek and ladder can lead upwards as well as downwards or indeed positioned horizontally over a hole lead one at the same level back and forth. Climax is then nothing more than a point of a considerable change indeed.

What is your creative schedule?

I don’t think my creativity has a timeframe and it ceases outside of it. What I mean to say is that I do try to implement a routine on a daily basis; it varies from day to day and somewhat my best works have been always created outside of how I would had scheduled it. I prefer to work throughout the night.

What environment do you like to work in?

My studio is my ideal working environment, as I have arranged precisely and know very well. It is where I have all my equipment and reference books. When I work on a series of works I attempt to impose a sort of routine upon myself and I eventually end up developing work using entirely different form and thus requiring different materials or equipment, which would be impossible to have all at hand while travelling. I find it practically impossible to work while travelling in fact, at least on a practical side.

Do you listen to music while working?

I do yes, but it is not a routine. I often prefer to have nothing in the background. It can be difficult to achieve at times, particularly in the summer when the windows stay open and the birds produce quite a commotion in the garden.

In memory, 2013, installation - slides, projectors (D)In memory, 2013

La Chambre de Labastrie, 2013, silver gelatine fibre based print, 150x120 cm (C)La Chambre de Labastrie, 2013

Laocoön Group, 2013, archival pigment print, 60x90 cm (A)Laocoön Group, 2013

NN, 2010 photogram - silver gelatine fibre based 40x50 cm (A)NN, 2010

the beginning the end, 2010, cyanotype on paper 42x60 cm (E)the beginning the end, 2010

Photos courtesy of the artist.

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