Monika Grzymala was born in 1970 in Zabrze, Poland. In 1980, her family moved to Germany living in Hamburg and then Berlin. She is known for her installations that could arguably be described as a type of three dimensional drawing. She uses all kinds of tape in all kinds of colours from masking tape through upholstery tape and more.
Grzymala was a student of art at several different German universities. While she attended school, she indulged mostly in sculpture. One of her professors made an observation that Grzymala’s interest seemed more in the relationship between given objects rather than the objects themselves. From this observation, her work style changed and she ceased working on sculpture and concentrated on drawing by observing the fundamentals of mark and line. Her drawings began to occupy more than just paper, eventually expanding to drawings that occupied space. This was achieved by drawing with different kinds of tape using walls, ceilings, floors and the space between them.
Her tape installations have been created across Europe and the U.S. in many different locations. Grzymala makes each work unique to the site, creating the work in reply to local configurations and conditions of space. Her work “Transition” an installation done at Marian Goodman, New York, had black tape hurtling across the gallery walls, leaping off walls and flying around pillars. At the Centre for Experimental Art in New York, the artist used the remains of a previous exhibition and some furniture and suspended all of the objects in a labyrinth of transparent tape.
Occasionally Monika Grzymala discards the use of tape and uses paint. She once created a huge painting on the top of an ice skating rink in Hamburg. For one night, skaters skated across the painting’s surface, then overnight the freezers were turned off so the painting slowly melted. She was commissioned to create a piece for the office building of a German insurance company in Hamburg. The work entitled “Medulla Spinalis” used the building’s lift shaft as the spinal cord of the building. Using acrylic paint, she painted the shaft, darker and thicker at the bottom, becoming thinner and lighter as the floors rose up, eventually allowing the paint to free flow throughout the building radiating from the lift shaft.
For one show at the Locker Plant, Grzymala an assortment of materials including paint, tape and dead trees she collected. The artist was reminded by the trees of drawings in their stark and leafless state and by merging them into her installation, expanded her method of drawing in space. The trees were positioned in a semi-circle after being broken and the back of the room was treated with unpainted fragments of trees bound together with natural coloured tape. Other trees were painted in a range of colours; greys, silvers and browns. In the room’s centre, the branches were painted in brighter colour and as the trees approached the front, the colours grew more vivid with heavily saturated oranges, purples, greens and blues. On the floor were scatterings of coloured paper scraps representing leaves of the trees. The “leaves” shifted with the environmental factors such as people movement, breezes thus changing the installation daily.
Monika Grzymala’s drawing explorations follows a tradition of art philosophy, taking the line out of a two-dimensional domain. The relationship between line and concept was confronted by Federico Zuccaro in 1607 he proclaimed the importance of the line. His philosophy was that the drawing was equal to a “divine act of creation”, as the external form of the idea is the line, hence the start of everything.
For Grzymala line and drawing equals guided by hand thoughts. For Grzymala line is continuum, start and finish defining and limiting both poles moving in one or many directions. Monika Grzymala’s works fuse with the architecture of the space she is working with.