Interview: Adam Niklewicz
Luca Curci talks with Adam Niklewicz during the 10th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Born in Poland; lives and works in North Haven, CT, USA , Adam Niklewicz earned his BFA in graphic communications from Washington University in St. Louis (1989) and his MFA in sculpture from State University of New York at Purchase (2006). He has shown at such venues as Real Art Ways, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Stamford Museum, Grounds for Sculpture, Black & White Gallery, FiveMyles, Slag Gallery, EBK Gallery, Hudson Valley MOCA etc. Adam mounted 14 solo shows in both the USA and Europe and had his work presented and reviewed in ARTnews, Art New England, Aesthetica, The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, Modern Painters Magazine, The Huffington Post and the Nation, among others. For him making art is like carving out an intimate niche for oneself – a free zone that doubles as a buffer, a source of protection from the pressures of corporate society in which many feel trapped. Today’s climate encourages the public to believe that reality can be sanitized, streamlined and made predictable. His work pokes holes in that illusion.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Adam Niklewicz – It all happened on February 8, 2000, when I attended a lecture given by Christo and Jeanne-Claude (known for their large-scale wrapping projects). I felt mildly intrigued, but before I noticed anything, the presentation swept me off my feet and by the end of the evening, the state of relative satisfaction with my artistic path was blown to pieces. On my way home I was braving a February snowstorm, and a similar storm raged in my head. New (and surprising to me) ideas soon started forming and demanded my attention. And that is how it started.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
AN – My work is shaped by my ongoing emigrant experience. It often draws on the visual vocabulary of my Polish childhood and on my subsequent exposure to American commercial and pop-cultural iconography. The resulting blend is at the core of my practice and testifies to the paradoxes of an emigrant artist’s mindset.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
AN – I’d abstain from overestimating artists’ influence on society. I believe that artists do it for themselves. It’s a way of making sense of reality. For me, making art is like carving out an intimate niche for oneself – a free zone. Maintaining this zone is crucial; it’s a prism through which I keep my distance from the pressures of the corporate society many feel trapped. Society would rather make one believe reality can be sanitized, streamlined and made predictable. I think I make art to expose that illusion, to laugh at it, to humour it. And in general, there is not enough humour in art!
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
AN – I enjoy that moment. In some rare cases, the state of joy is mixed with the element of surprise (was I really capable of pulling off something that neat?). That kind of convergence is particularly precious.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
AN – I trust that the style/practice I engage in at the moment represents my mature approach. Everything before that was more or less a search for it.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you? Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition? What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP? Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AN – The beauty of the concept/theme of this show stands from its openness. That makes it inclusive. In fact, this is also my feeling about ITSLIQUID GROUP. You are inclusive, accommodating and flexible. In other words, you are liquid.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
AN – I just returned from Venice and I’m here to report that the exhibition is elegant and it is beautifully arranged/organized. Thank you!