Aleksandra Karpowicz was taking part in the art residency at Palazzo Monti in Brescia, Italy. She has been working there on a new project ‘Eleutherophobia – fear of freedom’ as well as performance ‘In the name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Holy Spirit’. Both projects will be shown at the group exhibition ‘Merdelamerdlamerdelamerdelamer’, which will take place in September at the Mario Mauroner Gallery in Vienna. The show is curated by Kendell Geers and will include such artists as Marina Abramovic, Betty Tompkins, Gilbert and George, Penny Slinger etc.
How did you find out about the residency programme? How did you apply?
I’ve heard about the residency through Katy Hessel who runs an account on Instagram promoting female talents (@thegreatwomenartist). She has been collaborating with a Director of the Palazzo, Edoardo Monti. Together they organised a meeting in London last year where they invited artists to come over and show their portfolio. So I went there and presented my work. I was advised to send an official application which was later accepted.
What does your regular, art residency day look like?
It is very important to me to be fully connected with myself when I’m creating art. That is why I sleep as long as my body decides it’s rested. I usually wake up without any alarm clock. After getting up I start my day with yoga, then I eat breakfast, and then I meditate. Usually around 11am I begin working and carry on until midnight, with a couple of breaks for a meal.
The first part of art residency I spent in the gorgeous, huge room with old frescos on the ceiling. That’s where I have been photographing and filming myself for the new project ‘Eleutherphobia – fear of freedom’. Second part of my residency I spent mainly by the computer doing further research on the project and editing all the material I’ve recorded. My residency ended up by giving performance ‘In the name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Holy Spirit’ to the guests at the Palazzo.
From your experience, what distinguishes working as part of residency from working in your atelier?
Personally, I would say that working as part of residency means that I can commit my full time and energy to create art. It is almost impossible to do that while I’m working in London. I’m not only multitasking there with a number of projects, but also spend a lot of time commuting or having meetings. It takes so much of a day… At the Palazzo I could allocate that time only to make art.
Does the change of context help you in the creation process?
Absolutely. Dedicating my entire days to create art is extremely inspirational and productive. My brain has been occupied 24/7 only by a new project. I could bring my full attention on the ideas that I’ve had for years and finally bring them into life.
Do you place an emphasis on your work or rather on meeting people and exploring the city?
During the first part of the residency I pretty much didn’t leave my studio. I had so many ideas that I just couldn’t stop working. It was a very deep and intense experience and I loved every minute of it. During the second part of the residency I already knew that I created a lot of material. I felt more relaxed to spend time exploring the city and socialising. I began hanging out more with the other artists in residence: two fantastic French painters Diane Dal-Pra & Jean-François Le Minh, two New York artists Oren Pinhassi & Brandon Lipchik and a fellow Londoner Harrison Pearce who makes massive sculptures. It was great being surrounded by such amazing talents and exchange ideas and thoughts on art.
What challenges and opportunities did the residency involve?
Personally, I think the main challenge was to overcome the pressure of creating. I don’t really suffer from lack of ideas but going all the way to another country to make new artwork could be potentially stressful. That is why I knew I have to be perfectly rested and centred on my emotions, so I don’t wind up myself in unnecessary overthinking.
When it comes to opportunities, my residency at the Palazzo couldn’t be in a better timing. Just before I came to Italy I was invited by Kendell Geers to take part in the group exhibition in Vienna, which will include such artists as Marina Abramovic, Gilbert and George or Betty Tompkins. Having residency at the Palazzo Monti gave me an opportunity to completely focus on a new project which I will present there.
Name three objects most important to you during the residency.
What is the role of institution in your residency? What does it provide you with?
Every artist has a private room to sleep and a space to work. Edoardo Monti, who runs the whole programme, has been extremely helpful in making sure that every artist has everything they need to create. He also has been organising various events including dinners with the local art community. He even organised a lovely day off for all artists in residence, by the private pool with a number of art collectors. He is a really fantastic person, absolutely dedicated to the Palazzo and its programme.
What would you recommend to artists going abroad for an art residency?
From my perspective, before going away I would recommend everyone to spend some time thinking about what kind of idea they would like to explore. It doesn’t have to include all the details or specifics. It’s just putting a seed in a brain that could grow when there are no limits in the creation.