Words by Lula Criado
Martynka Wawrzyniak is a New York-based artist who works in a wide range of media such as photography, video, performance, sculpture and installation. One of the central axis of her work is to provoke critical thinking in society about the implications of the artist as both subject and investigator.
Two installations caught my attention: Smell Me (2012) and Feed (2014). The biological scent of our bodies is the most ancient form of animal communication, however, people mask their smells with perfumes. Martynka Wawrzyniak, influenced by her childhood in communist Poland where deodorants were a luxury good, presented Smell Me in 2012, a project in collaboration with researchers from Hunter College. Acting as both subject and investigator, she collected and concentrated aromatic elements from her body: hair, tear and sweat.
In 2014 she presented at envoy enterprises Feed, a project in which food and the act of eating are seen from a sensorial perspective. Acting again as both subject and investigator, for one year, she recorded the ingredients of what she ate and collected the cloth dinner napkins she used each night at dinner.
Scent as non-verbal communication, food and the female body are some of the words which define the conceptual and creative universe of Martynka Wawrzyniak’s art which explores femininity and childhood and blurs the boundaries between artist and audience.
What is more important: to take or not to take yourself too seriously in order to be creative?
A fine balance of both.
You have to let go to get in tune with your subconscious in order to allow an idea to formulate and once it has you have to take yourself very seriously to carry it through to the end.
What’s your favourite time of the day?
Solitude or loneliness, how do you spend your time alone?
Quiet alone time is very important to me, it allows me to focus and think. When I feel inspired I take stream-of-consciousness notes, which eventually form into more concrete ideas.
Have you found beauty in unexpected places/situations?
I draw inspiration from my everyday daily life experiences, finding hidden beauty in places which are often overlooked.
What do you want to achieve before you die?
To have children.
One for the road… What are you unafraid of?
I am trying my best to accept life as it comes and not to be afraid of tomorrow.