Julia Taszycka Interview - The Hopper Prize

Julia Taszycka

Julia Taszycka on growing up in the Polish art world, observing the socio-political sphere, & maintaining a dual perspective.

How did you get into making art?

It came out very naturally, I come from an artistic family, so I grew up in the Polish art world. Art always seemed to be a field with the fewest limitations. I wanted to be able to embody my observations and thoughts in the most unrestricted way possible.

Besides, I was always terrible in all other fields, so maybe I had no choice.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently in Poland, working on new objects I plan to present at an upcoming exhibition. While on vacation in my hometown, I look with curiosity at the changes that, especially in the last few years, have became apparent in urban structures and these observations are the core of my new series of works.

I collect remnants of old household equipment and furnishings, such as old pieces of cabinets and other furniture from the communist era (PRL), which people are now getting rid of en masse. In public imagination these elements often function as a memory of the former regime, and are therefore eagerly discarded, especially by older generations. This phenomenon seems particularly symbolic to me, as it overlaps with the increasing gentrification of Polish cities.

This collection draws from observing the socio-political sphere that envelops me, particularly at the intersection with the art world. Through this project I want to provide a critical commentary on the systems influencing both our everyday lives and the realm of art.

I wanted to be able to embody my observations and thoughts in the most unrestricted way possible.

Julia Taszycka

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

Recently I vividly observe the socio-economic changes that are a consequence of the systemic shifts implemented during my lifetime. Just a few decades ago, Poland was a communist country, and its entry into the free market is gradually revealing new opportunities but also the consequences associated with them. I think that my growing up and witnessing it gave me a perspective that enabled me to be critical of capitalism as such, but also deprecatory of the marketization of art. Phenomena such as reformulation of urban areas and commodification of artwork in a country like Poland are still quite recent and growing gradually. This is in contrast to New York where I live every day and these elements are the obvious state of affairs. I think this dual perspective puts me at an intriguing point that I try to address through my work.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I definitely take a broader approach to my practice. My art has a conceptual character that goes beyond formal thinking, and all works have a common core. I work with found objects, thereby my projects always have an element of surprise. Because my main ideas have a conceptual framework the end result is not entirely predictable.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

Since I do not produce art as such, my day does not necessarily involve being only in a studio. I spend a lot of time on the streets tracking the societal transformation taking place and then collecting elements that are witnesses to these changes. I transport my objects to the studio and there I think about the ways of showing them. Since the installation element is important in my work, I spend much time determining its form. In the studio I also spend time researching, reading and planning for exhibitions.

Who are your favorite artists?

My artistic inspirations include numerous artists of the conceptual and minimalist movements, such as Robert Morris, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, Gordon Matta–Clark and Felix Gonzalez Torres. I am also very passionate about the works of contemporary artists like Michael E. Smith, Lutz Bacher, Daniel Turner, Elmgreen and Dragset, David Hammons, Urs Fischer, Thomas Rentmeister and Monika Sosnowska. I strive to merge recollection of conceptual movements as well as intrinsic observations of my surroundings and dynamic changes in today’s world.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I often use platforms like Mousse Magazine, KUBA Paris or Art Viewer. I also follow the Art Forum on a regular basis. On top of that, I have a favorite platform on Instagram – Post Vandalism, which publishes the works that interest me the most, because they focus on projects that have an element of destruction in them – so important in my own work.

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