Gosia Lapsa-Malawska is a London based Polish born artist. She has travelled extensively across South America and Asia; her practice is rooted in the ‘Young Poland Movement’ and informed by the simplicity and subtlety at the core of Japanese aesthetics.
Her ideas evolve from following the brush, wherever it may lead her; her memories emerge from within the abstractions created – discovered. Figures are reduced to silhouettes and shadows through a pared down palette, fading from Payne’s grey to white; a conscience disappearing onto the horizon.
The work explores the idea of mergence with something ultimately universal – collective.
Malawska’s solo show is on at the Muse Gallery, 249 Portobello Road, London W11 1LR until 18th November 2018.
WIA: What are you doing today?
Gosia Lapsa-Malawska: As my solo exhibition at the Muse Gallery is opening next week, now is the time for some final touches. Ordering prints, postcards, preparing the list of work, setting up the layout of the show. I made a small LEGO model of the gallery and I can play with different compositions before hanging day. I enjoy this part of show preparations very much.
WIA: Tell us about your creative process.
GLM: Coffee first. Music or film as background. Often a new work is triggered by a very simple idea or thought – a book, newspaper article, image, piece of music, conversation overheard in a coffee shop. Sketches, photographs, thinking. I love long walks, or thinking about my next painting in the gym.
WIA: Describe where you do most of your creative work.
GLM: In my studio, a former Police Station in Willesden Green. I need natural light and my studio is very bright. It would be good to have a slightly bigger studio though!
I had the perfect space during my Residency at the Muse Gallery in 2014. White cube, empty walls and me + music – ideal 8 months environment to create.
WIA: What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
GLM: The most exciting project is yet to come… hopefully in the near future. I love collaborations with other artists working in different mediums – musicians, writers, filmmakers. Inspire and be inspired. I have created covers for two albums by the talented musician James Murray. A third one will be released by Home Normal in the near future.
WIA: What made you decide to become an artist?
GLM: It wasn’t one decision, more a process. At high school the plan was to become a doctor – a surgeon. Hours of studying biology, physics, and chemistry… while my parents were buying me new art books and pencils, encouraging me to paint and draw. My Dad, who is an architect, was my first art teacher.
WIA: What are you currently working on?
GLM: Currently I’m doing series of sketches using tools other than a brush. I’m looking forward to seeing the results in bigger scale.
WIA: Do you listen to music while you work, and if so, what’s your soundtrack?
GLM: Music is a vital part of my life and a family tradition. It has been since I was a kid. I went to music school. Everyone in my family plays at least one musical instrument. Mine was the piano. While I work, music is my only company in the studio and one of the greatest sources of inspiration. Favourites are countless and range from Hans Zimmer soundtracks and classical favourites like Chopin and Debussy, to modern composers like Jun Miyake and Josef Van Wissem. I also listen a lot to Max Cooper, LTJ Bukem, Aphex Twin, the Chemical Brothers and James Murray (of course!), as well as to Polish music across the ages from jazz by Krzysztof Komeda, Leszek Możdżer, Michał Urbaniak to rap by Taco Hemingway. Music drives me through my imagination, gives a specific speed and flow while I’m
working. It triggers the best ideas, giving me safe space to think.
WIA: What are the key themes in your work?
GLM: My work is concerned with being human, our identity, loneliness, society, life online… the human condition.
WIA: What would you like people to notice in your work?
GLM: I see my work as a starting point, as just the beginning of a conversation with the viewer. I would like to give people a good environment to feel emotions and start thinking about their own lives.
WIA: What attracts you to the mediums you work in?
GLM: Oil paint requires patience, gives me more time to spend with every brush stroke. I use photography as a sketching tool.
WIA: What equipment could you not do without?
GLM: Payne’s grey oil paint. I can’t imagine my life without this colour. My big obsession is having at least one clear notebook/ sketchbook at home. I love beautiful stationery. The smell of good paper, nicely finished cover. It is a shame that Lavender Home closed its doors on Portobello Road. Luckily they still have an online shop. I buy sketchbooks/ notebooks in every country I visit. I know it is an addiction
WIA: Who or what inspires you?
GLM: Everything is or can be inspiration. You just need to watch the world carefully, pay attention and listen to people. I do love watching people in cafes, shops, the tube…
WIA: How does gender affect your work?
GLM: My work is addressed to all human beings and it doesn’t have any gender. I don’t want to be perceived as female artist – but as an artist. However, I am a woman and as such my gender does affect my work. During fertile phases of the menstrual cycle I am much more creative. The best ideas are coming at this time of the month. My brain works differently – and I’m trying to use that time in my studio as much as possible.
WIA: What’s your favourite gallery, or place to see or experience art?
GLM: Of course the MUSE Gallery in West London (I work there!) as well as White Cube Bermondsey and the Manggha Museum in Krakow, Poland
WIA: If you could own one piece of art, what would it be and why?
GLM: Why only one?
Olga Boznańska, Girl with chrysanthemums, 1864, oil on canvas. When I was a kid, maybe 12 years old, it was my favourite painting.
WIA: If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be, and why?
GLM: Kenya Hara – he is a master of design. His books “White” and “Designing Design” should be read in all art schools. Hara is creative director at the recently opened Japan House is London. I look forward to seeing the ”Takeo Paper Show” he curated there next month.
WIA: Is there an artist, movement or collective you’d like to see re-evaluated, or a contemporary artist who is underrated?
GLM: Not contemporary but there are a few Polish artists who should be renowned internationally – for example Stanislaw Wyspianski.
WIA: What’s your favourite colour?
GLM: Black and Payne’s Grey or Payne’s Grey and Black
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