Kasia and I did art together in year 6. I can’t remember much about it, but I’m pretty sure it involved a lot of drawing tedious ‘still life’s’ with oil pastels. Then last year I stumbled across some of her brilliant work at Frieze Art Fair, and after some deft stalking on my part we got back in touch, and I found out she was now practicing in Berlin.
I decided to capitalize on this rendezvous by asking her some questions about the fantastically peculiar things she makes.
You grew up in London, you’re of Polish descent and now live in Berlin. Where do you feel is home?
I had the classic problem of feeling English in Poland and Polish in England, so Berlin is where I feel like I can be a bit of both quite happily. Home is where your hard drive is…. or is that too cold?
Why did you decide to move to Berlin? How do you find living and working as an artist there in comparison to London? Are there more opportunities for creative endeavors in general?
I moved almost immediately after studying in England, so I never really experienced professional London life, but the feeling I had when I moved to Berlin was that you can make life easier for yourself and be somewhere where you don’t need to have a high paid, time consuming job in order to sustain a flat and a studio. I don’t think there are particularly more creative opportunities here in comparison to London, as London is a place where you are somehow forced to keep being active and producing etc, and as a result there is a lot going on, whereas the pressure is sometimes lacking here, but being given the headspace to quietly work things out is something that is important.
Absurdity and humour (albeit with tragic undertones) seem to be a clear underlying theme in everything you make. Where do you think that stems from? Does it have anything to do with being from a culturally “mixed” headspace?
Ah, now you’re asking me if the absurdity and humour (albeit with tragic undertones) is a result of my mixed cultural head space….Well that’s hard to say. Probably not. I tend to avoid putting much emphasis on nationality and feel like my interest in comedy and awkwardness stems from the enjoyment I get from dark twisting story lines, and glorifying the pathetic. I’m interested in comedy that fails, because the expectation of a specific result is so interwoven in the set up. I think there is a lot of space to play with this idea of expectation and what entertainment is. I like to make art, that you can use the sound made from sticking your tongue out and blowing, to describe it. This is essentially childish, and is unacceptable in most other professions.
Looking at images from your recent show in Belgium, ‘Where is your alibi, Mr. Motorway?’ I get a strong sense of the Uncanny. Are you primarily trying to subvert people’s sense of recognition, or is this just a by-product of what happens when you’re focusing on more intellectually motivated ideas?
The uncanny is difficult to avoid, but it’s not something I was necessarily occupied with. Of course, on some level, you are always subverting the familiar in Art, but what I was attempting to do was build a whole elaborate system of judgement that was based on very simple fallacies and then watch it crumble. There are some very real concerns with systems of judgement in both a legal sense and on a more general level, contained within the work.
What are you working on at the moment? And what’s next?
At the moment I am co-organising and taking part in an exhibition that brings sculptors and performers together. It’s kind of brilliant because in a way it’s doomed to fail in the same way that unnatural collaborations must. I’m really happy though because we have some amazing artists taking part and whatever the result I think it will be interesting. At the moment we have a daunting stack of Styrofoam bricks….
Lastly, our current theme is ‘road trip’, so in the spirit of that please can you give us 5 songs you’d put on a road trip mix tape?
Here goes…. nothing to do with roads….but a little multi-kulti.
Amarsi un Po - Lucio Battisti
Type - Paul Haworth and Sam de Groot (http://www.truetruetrue.org/good-at-goodbyes/)
Give me your love - Curtis Mayfield
Cigarettiquette - Lambchop
Ditty - Paperboy
Also pay a visit to Kasia’s blog where every image of a sculpture you click on takes you to a video link. Amazing!
Kasia Fudakowski was born to Polish parents in 1985 and grew up in Poland and London. She lives in Berlin and is represented by Chert gallery.
Interview by Philippa.