[-empyre-] Introducing Monika Weiss

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Nov 18 02:14:35 EST 2014

I'd like to introduce Monika Weiss, who is a guest for the second week of
our dicussion. I'd like to thank everyone who is participating; please

I've known Monika's work for years;, and identify with the concerns of
mourning, death, concentration camps. For me, her pieces touch on
tableau performances that strongly relate to this month's topic.
Welcome, Monika!

Monika Weiss is a Polish-American artist working with body, history and
postmemory.  Her current work focuses on historical amnesia as reflected
within the physical and political space of a City. Weiss frequently
employs her own body as a vehicle of artistic expression and invites
others to inhabit her performances and films. ?Not being a proper witness,
not being a proper survivor, not being able to recall the very
overwhelming events, Monika Weiss indirectly, on the basis of found
fragments of images and encountered sites, chooses to inhabit them
performatively through her art. She attempts to do so even if, in her
words, they 'defy narrative reconstructions and exceed comprehension.' She
does so through lamentation, an original, often public, performative, and
collaborative form of her art." (Krzysztof Wodiczko, introduction to
Monika Weiss? performance at GSD, Harvard University, 2014) Originally
trained as a classical musician, the artist composes sound in her films
and installations.  In 2005, Lehman College Art Gallery, CUNY organized
the artist?s first retrospective which was reviewed in The New York Times.
Weiss? traveling exhibition 'Sustenazo', first commissioned by the Centre
for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland (2010), was
subsequently shown at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, Santiago,
Chile (2012-2013), and at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, FIU,
Miami (2014). Weiss? work has been also featured at Streaming Museum
('John Cage Centennial Tribute', 2012), Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation
CIFO, Miami ('Forms of Classification: Alternative Knowledge and
Contemporary Art', 2007; 'The Prisoner?s Dilemma', 2009), and part of
Prague?s Muzeum Montanelli (MuMo)?s inaugural show in 2010. Some other
notable exhibitions include 'Moment by Moment: Meditations of the Hand' at
North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks (2006); 'On the Absence of Camps'
at Kunsthaus Dresden (2006); 'POZA: On the Polishness of Polish
Contemporary Art' at Real Art Ways, Hartford (2008); and 'Frauen bei
Olympia' at Frauenmuseum, Bonn (2009). An important part of the artist
works are public projects which are process-based and site-specific
environments. Commissioned by The Drawing Center, her public project
'Drawing Lethe' (2006) took place at the World Financial Center Winter
Garden within sight of Ground Zero, where workers were still digging for
remains. Passersby lay down and marked their presence onto the enormous
canvas covering the floor, which gradually became a drawing-field. In
'Shrouds-Ca?uny' (2012), Weiss filmed, from an airplane, local women
performing silent gestures of lamentation on the abandoned, forgotten site
of the former concentration camp Gruenberg, located in Zielona G?ra. Weiss
has given lectures on her work at institutions around the world and her
writings have appeared in numerous publications, including New Realities:
Being Syncretic (Springer, Wien/New York) and Technoetic Arts (Intellect,
London). In 2007 her work was featured in the survey publication 'Drawing
Now: Between the Lines of Contemporary Art' (London: I. B. Tauris). Weiss
is currently Associate Professor at Sam Fox School of Design & Visual
Arts, Washington University in Saint Louis. Born in Warsaw, Poland the
artist lives and works in New York City.

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