Pia Krajewski: oT (Mais)

Pia Krajewski

Artwork’s Title: oT (Mais), 2019

Materials Used: Oil on Canvas, 230 x 450 cm

Studio Based: Düsseldorf, Germany (next to our offspace „sonneundsolche“)

Pia Krajewski, 2019-01, oT (Mais), 230x450cm, Öl auf Leinwand, bearbeitet courtesy of privat collection
Pia Krajewski, 2019-01, oT (Mais), 230 x 450 cm, Öl auf Leinwand, bearbeitet, courtesy of private collection


Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Broadly speaking, the process of my paintings begins as I look at and perceive my environment in daily life. In recent years, I have collected a small photo archive in which I captured many moments and details from my everyday world. Originally, these sections or objects sometimes served, taken in different combinations, as surreal templates for my paintings. Whereas currently, ideas come to me rather independently of something actually seen, but are more focused  on ideas about surfaces and partly made-up objects. I then develop the motifs further with sketches before I begin the painting.

So most of the time there is already a very concrete idea of ​​the motif before I start on the canvas. Through sketches, I get a more specific idea about the composition and already an idea of ​​the surface. From there on, it is all about mixing colors for the right nuances and shadows. The most difficult part of the process is then the moment of finishing the surfaces with their shades and tactile appearance in the last layers.

How did you come up with this painting idea? Is there any story behind this painting?

As in most of my paintings, there is no specific story or a direct interpretation of the motif. I like that the objects sometimes still have the potential for symbolism, but my paintings are more concerned about creating a landscape that is simultaneously haptic and surreal, and depicts a certain distance from interpretability and our reality, but still has a connection to it. There is an exciting moment when we seem to recognise something, but we have not yet fully grasped it, or are just reaching the limits of what can be said. Our senses have already perceived something truthful, something that is simply given, that does not mean there is anything missing, or that everything must be explained.

I painted oT (Mais) {Engl.:corn} especially for a large group exhibition in the Museum K21 (Kunstsammlung NRW) in Düsseldorf last year. I like what happens when the viewer takes on a new perspective and apparently familiar objects become monumental, fine landscapes. I wanted to see in the large halls of the museum how the defined, small forms and moments of contact between the objects seem so monumentally large. How the view of this object-like world changes, how you get a new feeling for the object. I am more interested in the gentle structure of the individual arches, which press through the cloth on top, rather than about corn kernels … How the shades and the color nuances of the blue relate to the bulky body of the corn cob … How see-through are the shadows of the top hills that spill onto the blue cloth … And the cloth lies almost magnetically in the fine crevices of the forms below.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

I love Domenico Gnoli’s work, as you can probably tell. The dramatic and surreal way he stages his everyday objects is just fantastic.

I also really admire Louise Bonnet’s work , with the humorous and dramatic representation of physicality, the precise complexity of human feelings in the surreality of the body; the scenes by George Tooker, in which he is able to express the beauty of the sombre view, the poetic and painful realities of society in such a sensitive way

Agnes Martin, with her wonderful writings on the nature of art, beauty, life itself … Such a powerful woman.

My perspective has also been considerably shaped and influenced by the Flemish masters… the fine curls of the angels making music in Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece; the wonderfully set folds and patterns in the sumptuous fabrics in the Madonna of Chancellor Rolin;the gentle yet definite coloring and light in the Rogier van der Weyden pictures;  the grandeur and sensual presence of the small, fine objects that appear almost fragile in the still lifes of Harmen Steenwijck and Ambrosius Bosschaert … and many many more…

How do you know when this painting was finished?

It is not so easy to explain. I had this painting in the studio with me for a long time and I went back to it again and again for small nuances of the shades, until it reached a point where the surface had been worked out enough, and further work would have destroyed, rather than added, something.. There is something like a small window that has to be hit, in which the fine elaboration of the shades and the shape modulation are met, but where still a manual painterly surface can be recognized in its fragility, i.e. the surface must not be worked out in an absolutely clean way. The harmony has to be met between the gently clean surface, which is too ideal to be real, and the „awkward“ (“gauche” in French, as Roland Barthes defines Cy Twombly’s peculiar gestural way of drawing and the fragility of his line, which I transfer to surfaces) vulnerable execution of the painterly surface.

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

For several years now I have had a great studio in Düsseldorf with two artist friends (Antonia Rodrian & Antonia Freisburger). With them I am also organizing the “sonneundsolche” exhibition space in the adjoining front rooms. The resulting exchange with each other and with the exhibiting artists is incredibly enriching and important, also for my studio everyday life. Moreover, at my workplace I always need my own space for shelter and quiet, a few plants, an armchair, where I can relax in between the concentrated working hours and look at the paintings again and again, spend time with them and let them absorb me.

Is there any particular message that you wish your viewers can take from this painting?

There is not one particular story or interpretation that I want the viewers to see in my paintings. It is much more important for me to portray an enraptured moment of reality, to create a new perspective on surreal objects, a haptic world in which one rediscovers the beauty of apparently known items and their forms. I wish viewers to get involved in a quasi-physical way of seeing reality, employ the gaze as a way of touching not chasing the one right answer, but getting in contact with the artwork and open up the senses.

What does your mum think about your art?

I still remember exactly the moment when she was standing in front of the paintings of my final presentation at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and I had the feeling that she was completely absorbed by the paintings. She stood in front of the huge paintings for a very long time and completely engaged with them with her senses, she practically felt these visual worlds with her eyes. I was very touched by her reaction and felt how she understands what I am doing and what power such a painted picture can have.

Which are your plans for the near future?

After the residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin last year and the exciting time there, I am for now looking forward to work in my studio in Düsseldorf for the upcoming exhibitions and to be reunited with my „Kollektiv Gruppe Kilo“. There are already a few projects planned for this year, such as a group exhibition in Essen. Additionally, I have started working towards a solo show in Germany, and projects in Israel and China. I am very excited about the new year, and look forward to the opportunities it will present.

Additional Paintings & Images

Pia Krajewski, (Mais) 2019, Planet 58, K21, 230x450cm, oil on canvas, courtesy of private collection
Pia Krajewski, (Mais) 2019, Planet 58, K21, 230 x 450 cm, oil on canvas, courtesy of private collection
Pia Krajewski, 2019-04, COME CLOSE STEP BACK, Künstlerhaus Bethanien Installationview (Spitze) 180x150cm, courtesy of private collection
Pia Krajewski, 2019-04, COME CLOSE STEP BACK, Künstlerhaus Bethanien Installation view (Spitze) 180 x 150 cm, courtesy of private collection
Pia Krajewski, 2019-04, COME CLOSE STEP BACK, Künstlerhaus Bethanien Installationview (HagebuttenRöhren) 180x300cm, courtesy of private collection
Pia Krajewski, 2019-04, COME CLOSE STEP BACK, Künstlerhaus Bethanien Installation view (HagebuttenRöhren) 180 x 300 cm, courtesy of private collection
Pia Krajewski-Artuner Paris 2019, oT (Matratzensushi), 180x300cm, Courtesy of private collection
Pia Krajewski-Artuner Paris 2019, oT (Matratzensushi), 180 x 300 cm, Courtesy of private collection

© All images courtesy of the artist


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