An Interview with Adam Niklewicz.

by Jade French

Adam Niklewicz plays with the relationship between identity and nationality with a slice of sausage in the middle. Removing our typical relationship with food (eat and run) Niklewicz forces the viewer to reimagine how we can view food with everything from beautifully rotating chicken bones to musical sausages! His sculptures are multi-faceted creations which resituate objects outside of their normal habitats. We caught up with the artist to find out more…

Jade French: How does your relationship with both Poland and America inform your work?

Adam Nikelwicz: On one hand, there’s the visual vocabulary of my Polish childhood, on the other – the American pop-cultural and commercial iconography. The two clash and blend together (there’s a bit of smoke) and all this occasionally produces some creative leaven.

JF: Do you think through creating art you gain a sense of identity? Or does art incorporate a universal feeling, which negates nationality?

AN: I’d dread to hear that my art is somehow ethnic, hermetic or obscure. True, I often base it on quirky, ethnic, folkish facts but I do hope I’m able to distill these facts into works with universal appeal.

JF: Can you explain more fully how ‘Romantycznosc is a reflection on the Polish psyche? How did you create that piece of work? Its amazing that the sound is so pitch perfect when made out of meat!

AN: It’s hard for me to explain the Polish psyche notion (other than through art itself), I know though it reaches its peak when a Pole plays a polonaise on the instrument. Putting this piece together took a lot of effort and a lot of sausage.  And there were these frequent (up to three times a day for a few weeks) visits to my local Polish deli, which confused the store clerk.  My appetite for always the same mundane kind of sausage, the shear amounts of the product purchased, the fact that I’d often produce a tape measure from my pocket to check on the sausage’s length before buying – all this made the clerk uneasy.  I fought against the instinct of explaining myself.  I decided that the explanation (I’m not really weird, I’m only making a musical instrument out of sausage) would not boost my image with the man. In other words, I enjoyed the process and misperceptions it produced.  The process has recurred several times since with other projects.  What makes the piece utter the right kind of sound must remain a secret.

JF: One thing that strikes me is the manipulation of found objects into functioning equipment- like the Art Forum kaleidoscope. How important is it that your art has a function, as well as an aesthetic value?

AN: I want my work to both look good and to possess content.  Yes, I need my objects to function, but their purpose must not adhere to an easy logic.

JF: Is the Art Forum piece a comment on art journalism? I noticed you cut the visuals from the review sections out- how much do art reviews affect an artist?

AN: Perhaps it’s a comment on the nature of art.  I truly believe that art is ever-changing (like the kaleidoscope effect used here) and ever-fresh (not unlike nature itself).

JF: Do you think using microscopic visuals forces the viewer to look harder at your artwork, or engages them in a different way?

AN: A small object of art feels precious, like a piece of jewelry. I noticed that people gladly focus their attention on a small work. They feel encouraged to wrap their minds around it.

JF: Would you classify your work as playful?

AN: I’m very happy when someone calls my work playful.  I’m equally happy when viewers find it humorous.

JF: Pieces such as Ounce have a strong sense of nostalgia and poignancy- does this piece relate directly to personal experiences?

AN: I love that you misspelled the title of this piece!  The actual title – ONUCE, stands for a garment of sorts – two pieces of fabric or paper (often a newspaper) designated to be wrapped around feet, usually in addition to socks.  All this for an extra protection against cold.  I suspect the term made the title partially because it looked like a misspelled English word (e.g. ONCE, OUNCE).  I used to wear onuce as a child.  Big time!

JF: Pieces such as Calle Lunga’ and Monument to Borscht, although stationary, seem to incorporate a sense of movement- is that something you recognize yourself?

AN: These two pieces are not really built to last.  They appear to face the imminent prospect of collapsing, breaking, sagging. I think, this is where the sense of movement comes from; their fragile nature implies change and change is related to movement.

JF: The kinetic sculpture Chicken Souphas a sense of frailty to it – what do you think this piece is trying to say?

AN: I like fantasizing about that chicken I consumed. I assembled its bones in a rather aerial manner.  I wonder- is this transformed bird on the verge of taking off?

JF: Why is there a link between food and heritage within your work?

AN: Food is a visible, tactile, sensuous (and surprisingly meaningful) way of experiencing a cultural heritage.

JF: I also read that you ate paint as an art student, which relates to the piece of bread with orange oil paint – can you tell us the story and why you recreated this moment later in life?

AN: The incident happened many years ago during a drinking party of a bunch of 17-year old art students – all ready, perhaps even certain, to conquer the artworld.  In my own drunken stupor, I spread orange oil paint over a slice of bread and challenged everyone to take a bite.  Nobody did!  Meanwhile, I put myself on the spot and now I had to have a good chunk of the slice.  The long forgotten incident returned to me quite suddenly, and made me realize that the then display of adolescent stupidity was in fact an act of commitment. A vow. I’m the only participant of that gathering from he past that keeps making art.  I recreated that ‘action’ now to renew the old vows.

For more about Adam visit his website.

THE 22 MAGAZINE: VOLUME 3/III/THREE.

We are thrilled/charmed/humbled and just plain happy to present the 3rd volume of The 22 Magazine. To continue to support such amazing creative efforts in Brooklyn and the world and act as a collector of each contributors story is a role we never imagined we would have the luck to play.

We cannot thank enough all our contributors, interns, volunteers, funders, and everyone else who makes this magazine happen. It is with great honor that we present the contributors for Volume 3/III/Three of The 22 Magazine.

THE 22 MAGAZINE: VOLUME 3/III/THREE

Adam Void
Allison Sommers
Angeline Gragasin
Bradley Ehrsam
Charlotte Greenwood
Cless
Gerardo Mena
Iron Dog
Jason Stoneking
Jeff Tigchelaar
Jim Ford
J.J. Cromer
Joseph Daley
Megan Moncrief
Mike Bazzett
Nathan Vernau
Nick Lamia
Nicole Gordon
Penelope Gottlieb
Randy Mora
Ricky Allman
Sarah Boothroyd

THE WEEK: APRIL 23-27.

EDITOR’S PICKS: 

The 22 Magazine is putting on a show this Thursday at Vaudeville Park in Brooklyn. Hope you can join us!

Check out a preview for the show.

The 22 Magazine Presents: Fixins
http://www.the22magazine.com/Pages/upcomingevents.html
04/26/2012-04/26/2012

The 22 Magazine is pleased to present an evening of music, art, food and puppetry with Andru Bemis, Anna Gevalt, Elizabeth Laprelle and Katherine Fahey, who along with singing, will be presenting a cranky. Also known as scrolling panorama, or crank box, the cranky is an old-fashioned hand-cranked scrolling device, illustrating a story or song. They will be joined by FAHEY, puppeteer Daniel Patrick Fay, and visual artists Jimmy McBride, Megan Canning, Eileen Hoffman, Reineke Hollander and more. There will be a potluck style buffet, so feel free to bring something to contribute! The event will take place on April 26, at Vaudeville Park in Brooklyn.


 

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THE WEEK: APRIL 2-6.

EDITOR’S PICKS: 

Every Exit is an Entrance: 30 Years of Exit Art
http://www.viiphoto.com/news/exhibition-every-exit-is-an-entrance-30-years-of-exit-art/
04/01/2012-05/19/2012

Exit Art is pleased to announce their final exhibition EVERY EXIT IS AN ENTRANCE: 30 YEARS OF EXIT ART. Founded in 1982 by Executive Director Jeanette Ingberman and Artistic Director Papo Colo, Exit Art has grown from a pioneering alternative art space into an innovative cultural center.

 

 

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THE WEEK: Sept 26-30.

LIVE from the NYPLROBERT WILSON with Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Lucinda Childs, and others in conversation with Paul Holdengräber 
Friday, September 30, 2011 7:00 p.m.

Robert Wilson will talk to Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Lucinda Childs and others about his artistic collaboration with them over the years.  The conversation will be instigated by Paul Holdengräber.

Robert Wilson is among the most distinguished theater directors of our time. Creator of such works as The King of Spain and The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud, Wilson also collaborated with Philip Glass on the hugely successful opera Einstein on the Beach. Today, Wilson’s accomplishments are recognized not only in the spheres of theatre and opera, but also in the visual arts. Retrospectives of his work have been held throughout the world, and his installations have appeared in several Guggenheim museums, among other venues worldwide.

This event marks the US publication date of The Watermill Center – A Laboratory for Performance – Robert Wilson’s Legacy, a new book about the first 20 years of The Watermill Center.  It will also feature the new book Robert Wilson From Within edited by Margery Arent Safir.

Organs in The Snow
Opening Reception: Sep 30, 8-11pm

A Group Show and Story by Rachel Mason

Dan Asher / John Baldessari / Michael G. Bauer / Michael Bilsborough / Nancy deHoll / Jen Denike / Tim Dowse / Ellie Ga / Laleh Khorramian / Jason Lazarus / Mamiko Otsubo / Samuel White

Opening Night Performances: Thank You Rosekind, Doom Trumpet, No Sky God, Mark Golamco

She was a lion sitting on her dad’s shoulders. They formed a totem of two heads, one large, one small as they walked down the street. Powerful with her lion-painted face, she stuck her tongue out at a man passing by. He tripped on the side of his foot and then fell to the ground.

The girl’s father didn’t realize that his daughter scared the man, causing him to fall. The man already had a fear of children. The girl’s father also didn’t realize that had he reached his hand out to help, the man wouldn’t now have two permanent rods conjoined in his hip bone, and wouldn’t have lapsed into a permanent hallucinatory state from which he’d never recover.

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THE WEEK: August 8-12th.

Social Hijinks! A screening and live action lecture night
Wednesday August 10, 7:30 pm

In conjunction with the exhibition Why Participate?, Angela Washko has organized a lineup of videos and live performative lectures by artists whose projects take place within social spaces. The works being presented and discussed are mischievous, critical, occasionally hilarious, and examine the boundaries of legality. Artists Jason Eppink, Nate Hill, Ann Hirsch, Jaime Iglehart, Action Club, Paolo Pedercini, and Jeff Stark present and talk about their works discussing surveillance, costumed public service, reality television, knock-off culture, collaboration, video game evolution, protest, and performance in public spaces.
Free + Bring your own beverages and snacks
(images courtesy of Jeff Stark)

Gian Luigi Diana, electronics & Ben Gerstein, trombone
Wednesday, August 10, 10pm

SEEDS:Brooklyn – www.seedsbrooklyn.org
617 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn (preceded at 8:30 by Jacob Garchik, trombone/computer)

All Star Poetry: A Benefit at the Bowery Poetry Club.
Tuesday, August 9

Nine poets from the First Annual New York Poetry Festival join forces to raise funds for the Festival and Bowery Arts + Science. Featured poets include Lisa Marie Basile, Jassie Harris, Meghann Plunkett, Rita Mercedes, Sarah Feeley, Ayala Sella, Nick Adamski and Bob Holman w/ Molissa Fenley.

Books will be available for purchase after the reading.
Admission: $8
The Bowery Poetry Club is located at 308 Bowery (between Houston and Bleecker)

New York Poetry Festival Afterparty at the Bowery

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Gala by Ayala Sella.

Eve once fed me
an apple from her garden.
Its name was Gala
and I was wearing
large green mittens
and dirty cream shoes
descending a long escalator
in the city
after Eden.
Adam wasn’t there
and we were both
pregnant smoking
cigarettes without tar
and drinking tall silver
cans of Japanese beer
after the night of the
lunar eclipse.
I think Adam was
off somewhere
reading about Socialism
and punk rock on the toilet
(but we weren’t sure.)

Ayala Sella is a writer, living and working in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Born in Israel, she moved to the United States at the age of four, and has spent the past years traveling between these two countries. Her first book, a collection of poetry entitled soliloquies of a crosswalker has just been released by Wasteland Press. Her first interview will be published in the KGB Lit Magazine in August and her work is forthcoming in the New York Quarterly. She will be participating in the monthly storytelling series at The Bodega on Sunday, August 7th, at Bluestockings Bookstore on August 18th and at Cafe Orwell on August 28th.