Artist Writings

In the Memory of my Mother Gabriela Weiss, 2017

How to face loss, I do not know. How to remember, I hope to know one day, or at least to better understand with each day passing.

My beloved mother, Gabriela Weiss, quietly passed away on April 12, 2017, in Warsaw, Poland.She had been bound to bed, unable to walk and gradually losing her sight, since last December, after a serious fall. Doctors were not hopeful during that period, and her spirit, had never returned since my father’s passing that summer. My mother was a pianist and a piano teacher, and she revealed music to me as the first and most important language through which I try to understand the world. Many, including her former piano students, remember her as someone who changed their lives. I am no exception, as her daughter, as a human being and as an artist.

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monika weiss
Notes on Two Laments (19 Cantos), 2015-2016

Two Laments
Two Laments is a series of 19 short film projections with sound (19 Cantos) and a related related series of drawings, film stills, photography, public performance and sculpture, considering public memory and amnesia in the construction of the space of a city. Two Laments is a response to the two forms of violation of two kinds of embodied sites: the body of the woman and the body of the city.
19 Cantos may be presented as a continuous film projection, or as an installation consisting of multiple projections in one large space, as well as a series of concurrent projections in multiple rooms. In addition to 19 short films Two Lamentsincludes a series of drawings and photographs, a public performance and a sculpture with water and projected video.

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monika weiss
Notes on Wrath (Canto 1, Canto 2, Canto 3)

In Wrath the image is of a young woman architect from Iran, whom I filmed in my studio in New York. Sound and text in this work are my musical and textual response inspired by our conversation. I invited her to perform silent, nearly motionless gestures of lamentation by gradually removing her black head scarf, revealing her gaze, in silent meditation. This act evoked a memory of another time, in Tehran, when she abandoned her scarf and rushed through the city bareheaded, free, if only for that moment in time. My short poetic film became a record of this encounter but also a further musical, visual and textual exploration of the fragile and conflicting relationships between women’s bodies and cities, acts of veiling and exposure, and structures of power and history.

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monika weiss
Artist Statement

My transdisciplinary work investigates the nature of time and memory and evokes ancient rituals of lamentation in response to issues of recent social and cultural history. I create durational, performative, ephemeral and site-specific public projects and installations, as well as films, drawings, photographs and objects, which suggest alternative forms of knowledge, classification and perception. My most current work considers aspects of public memory and amnesia as reflected within the physical and political space of a City.

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monika weiss
Shrouds (Całuny)

Do cities remember? Maps of cities are flat, yet their histories contain vertical strata of events. Where in the topography and consciousness of a city can we locate its memory? Maps of the Polish city Zielona Góra depict an empty unmarked rectangular area located on Wrocławska Street, across from the Focus Park shopping mall. Located centrally within the city this area looks abandoned, being composed mostly of broken masonry and wood debris. Inquiries to citizens of Zielona Góra indicate that many of them do not know the history of this abandoned area, including those who grew up near the site.

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monika weiss
Ennoia

Curled-up inside the vessel’s interior shape I lie almost motionless. The vessel is shaped like an octagonal chalice, reminiscent of a medieval baptismal font and filled with water. During the several-hour performance, I move slowly along the inner walls of the vessel. From time to time I emerge from and submerge into the water. Sounds of the immersion are picked up by underwater microphones installed in the basin. I repeat the performance on several different days during the time of the installation.

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monika weiss