Memoirs of a Time of Immaturity – Dagmara Genda

The following images are of Dagmara Genda’s exhibition Memoirs of a Time of Immaturity which ran from March 16 to April 6, 2013.

View of Dagmara Genda's Memoirs of a Time of Immaturity

View of Ungrounded City I and III


Interview with Dagmara Genda

Line Gallery:  Why do you think you came to focus on drawing as opposed to another medium?

Dagmara Genda: Drawing has been a constant for me ever since I was a child. I think it was never overshadowed by other interests because, being from Poland, there was a language barrier that limited my ability to make friends and learn. My family and I emigrated in 1985 and we didn’t know one word of English. I took longer to learn the language than other children, or at least I’m under the impression that I did, because we spoke exclusively Polish at home. At school, rather than interacting with other people, and learning to read and write, I would just draw. It was a kind of escape from the sheer incomprehensibility of my surroundings. Upon entering art school I experimented with other forms of art, often trying to choose the best medium to explore a given idea, but drawing always resurfaced as my go-to form. It has a connection to childhood, to immediacy, simplicity but also, through the medium of illustration, a highly complex and mediated language. It’s contradictory and therein lies its power.

My art practice as such, I’d say, began in grad school when I was in between places to live. I spent all my time in the studio but didn’t want to make art anymore. Instead I’d trace the splatters of paint left on my wall from a performative video I had made. At the end of the summer, the paint on the wall was traced to form an intricate mural that was very compelling to me. It connected to that prelinguistic impulse when I was first in Canada as well as to various cultural modes of mark-making which in themselves are their own vocabulary. I decided that was going to be what I did from then on.


LG: How does your own life experience and cultural background contribute to, or influence your work? Where do you draw inspiration from?

DG: Inspiration is a funny word. It implies a sudden impulse to create, or in the Judeo-Christian sense, an influence from God. I’ve been working too long to have my ideas come from inspiration. It is not sudden in the slightest nor do I get eureka moments. It is a process of labour that evolves from a step-by-step process and builds on itself. It’s profoundly boring and unromantic.

That being said, my life experience and background certainly influence my work. In some ways that’s a platitude. In my case the notion of identity is particularly important, not only national identity, but also ontological identity. How do we come to identify something as being what it is? What does it mean that something is identified in a certain way and can that change? Being Polish and Canadian, as well as a kind of foreigner to both identities, I feel as if I am keenly aware of the performative nature of identity and of the self. As such I try to rupture various tropes in my drawings, such as Polish architecture or Canadian art history, so as to see them in a new light.


Dagmara Genda Reception

On March 15, 2013 Line Gallery hosted Dagmara Genda’s reception.

Dagmara Genda's reception for Memoirs of a Time of Immaturity

Dagmara Genda's reception for Memoirs of a Time of Immaturity with Palace with Apartments in the background