Monika Grzymala is an installation artist who uses tape to document her movements in a specific location while constructing new boundaries and ephemeral spaces. This Polish artist, based in Berlin, applies miles of duct tape in a single piece. Passing from the walls to the floor and vice versa, she draws taut parallel and superimposed lines; suspended swirls, chandelier-like tangles; and weaves swirling vortices. Grzymala coined the term Raumzeichnung (German for “room drawing” or “drawing in space”) to describe her creative method and says she refers to “a space that creates its own design and vice versa, a design that creates its own space” .
Grzymala has worked in many genres including papermaking, sculpture, set design, drawing and animation. She considers herself a sculptress who draws. While one of her earliest mediums was stone, she says she now prefers “softer, more flexible materials that allow me to play more with organic shapes and forms.”
His integration of duct tape into his works began when one of his sketchbooks ran out of blank pages. She continued to draw on the walls of her studio, then used masking tape to pull the lines up in the air and onto an adjacent wall. She uses a variety of tapes in her current works; his favorites are easily tearable black and white masking tapes. Her installation process typically takes about a week, during which she often uses between 3 and 10 kilometers of tape, sometimes using a ladder to extend her reach.
“I view my spatial drawings as hand-guided thought,” says Grzymala. She does not believe in the correction of her pieces, choosing, like the gestural abstractionists, to honestly record her movements. “I want the process of making the work to be as authentic and true as possible,” she says. She generally prefers to work on installations in solitude, although she has occasionally participated in interdisciplinary performances and created videos of her process.
Grzymala is currently participating in an exhibition titled “FUTURA: Measuring Time” at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, a contemporary art museum in Hamburg, Germany. This exhibition is co-curated by former Grzymala teacher Bogomir Ecker, whom she credits with helping to develop her unique practice of 3D drawing and the term Raumzeichnung. Grzymala’s contribution to this exhibition is an installation titled Raumzeichnung (Perpetuum Mobile) (2022).
For her site-specific works, Grzymala says she first visits the space and meets the curators. She then plans the piece in her studio through sketches and “smaller test pieces”. At the Hamburger Kunsthalle, for several days, she taped the walls, windows and floor of a corner of the gallery that faces Hamburg and the Alster lake. The work’s three kilometers of silver metallic ribbon represent “three kilometers of touching this gallery space doing [the] work,” she said. “The iridescent and reflective band [changes] with daylight. It relates to the reflective water surface you see through the window and to the theme of the show: time and space in visual and philosophical aspects.
During an installation, Grzymala’s works sometimes begin to sag or bend under their own weight, again embodying the constant change inherent in temporality. “I choose the ephemeral in my interventions because their limited lifespan is similar to our form of existence”, she specifies. She sometimes reuses her materials after an installation, trying to reuse or recycle them whenever possible. She finds the process of creating and dismantling impermanent installations “fascinating. . . . It seems logical that my works do not stay the same longer than their exhibition, because I am not the same person every day, and [I don’t always] look at the world from the same point of view.