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The sculptures of Karolina Maszkiewicz investigate life, death and reflect upon the life cycle. Her project Suspended Gardens is both celebratory and melancholic, as the artist opens up a completely new, organic universe for the viewer to escape into. Believing in the therapeutical quality of gardening, the artist tries to create an alternate reality where impressions evoked by an artwork can be equally surreal and down-to-earth. Still, they are always aesthetically pleasing. “One of the most basic human instincts is the one that strives for beauty”, she says.

Educated in Poland, Maszkiewicz’s relationship with nature takes roots in her childhood. Her mother was a botanist who encouraged her interests. It wasn’t until she moved to Los Angeles a couple of years ago, when she learnt the sculptural craft under the eye of an American artist, Brad Howe. The Malibu neighbourhood of his studio let her explore the Californian landscape that feeds into her current projects. “Nature is a big part of LA living. The enigmatic character of the desert, from the beaches through Palm Springs to Joshua Tree. The effect of climate change and the drought. Our unsustainable relationship with nature. I like to draw attention to those topics”, she says.

With Suspended Gardens, Maszkiewicz wanted to illustrate the impermanence of beauty and its natural demise. Flowers combined into large-scale bouquets hung upon the white ceiling create a living environment that dries, wilts and eventually dies. It is a form of a manifesto against taking beauty for granted.

Meticulous forms of her floral sculptures refer to artist’s interest in Suprematism: “The kinetics are an extension of the natural universe, but in a more calculated way. I spend a lot of time shaping and finishing the wood and thinking of new ways of bending the metal elements. The art process is very internal, very zen, almost like a meditation. I like to think that the energy I put into making a piece is carried though them like a vessel”.

When working on Wire Webs or Sherbet Hydrophytes, Maszkiewicz moulded steel rods and stones into geometrical shapes where the crudity of materials infused objects with raw, refreshing quality. All they had in their defence was the form or texture, encouraging new ways of perception. It is about recognising the value hidden in things humble and inconspicuous.

Inspired by Niki de Saint Phalle’s depiction of mother nature or Gertrude Goldschmidt’s use of space as an intrinsic element of an art piece, Maszkiewicz is on her quest for sculptures that can stay independent. It is art that operates on many levels and regardless of its form or location, leaves room for interpretation that is slightly biased, yet always individual.

Marta Knas

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