A brush with... Alicja Kwade

Ben Luke talks to Alicja Kwade about her influences—including writers, musicians and, of course, artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life and work. Kwade, born in 1979 in Katowice, Poland, and based in Berlin, makes spellbinding sculptural installations that play with perception and question the structures of reality and society. She grapples with philosophical concerns and draws on scientific and mathematic theory, while engaging with time-honoured sculptural properties—space, material, weight and surface. She discusses her early, and ongoing, interest in Gordon Matta-Clark, Leonardo and Jean-Paul Sartre; how music helps her create in the studio; and how, as she has said, “My muse is the blank space, the not-knowing and not-understanding.” Plus, she answers our usual questions, including: “What is art for?”

Alicja Kwade: Petrichor, 303 Gallery, New York, until 17 December. In Relation to the Sun, to Sequences of Events within 8016 Hours, i8 Gallery, Reykjavik, until 22 December 2022

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