Paulina: It seems like your work is inspired by your personal experience and a permanent fight with a disease. In some texts about your artistic practice, I found a comparison with famous Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow. I would agree with that, but instead of her sculptures or objects, I would refer to her drawings. It is not only because of the medium, but because I also see the same idea between you two – to present something, which is unseen but extremely destructive and to present permanent personal struggle (see below). Her drawings are very simple and reduced, but very elaborated at the same. Yours are more detailed, but also extremely expanded. Could you tell me more about the process of creating? When do you start and how does the work develop?
Maess: I admire Szapocznikow’s work and the drawings you have sent me are particularly close to my heart. These drawings are also a memento of the past century; the processes inside the body were more obscure, In the 60-70s, the access to medical data, journals and imagery was limited (and hard to come by non-medical professions). The stature of doctors was much more elevated, almost godlike and they were not likely to share much information with patients. So as an artist/patient in the late 1960s Alina Szapocznikow faced a more ambiguous world, brutal procedures, and the process of treatment was not transparent. All these realities are reflected in her body of work. In my belief repeating Szapocznikow’s approach will not be pushing forward. Coming of age at the beginning of the XXI century throws an artist/patient in a different landscape, within an information and images overload, and the challenge now is to make sense of it. My works are about processing what happens inside the body, using different medical imagery (i.e. histopathology views, CT scans, survival graphs, electron microscope views) and making use of what is available in our times. This wide access to information and this new environment consequently emerges in my drawings whose visual side is influenced by the innovative medical discoveries, access to scientific publications, and advanced imaging technologies. Regarding my process, I usually start with an idea, picking a „research interest“ and look for suitable motives. In addition to medical data, search for other stimuli associated with the given topic. In blue COVID study, I was thinking about overbearing glissando of an ambulance passing by, and its piercing blue light reflected on the streets. During the lockdown, the ambulance sound and its frequency was a daily measure of „how bad it is“. In the worst days, it has been around 11, recent days 1-2. Also, reading stats and analyzing dynamic maps of new cases became a daily ritual. I was also drawn to the aesthetics of news broadcasting sets and used COVID-19 stricken chest CT scans combined with dark spots that could have been air bubbles. Further on, the planning composition is made by using 3D and 2D software. I test various perspectives and then print the first digital render/sketch. The final version is entirely drawn by hand, preserving human imperfection and adding improvised elements to the composition.