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Floating paper cloud fills the Morgan Library & Museum's soaring atrium this summer
Monika Grzymala, Volumen. The Morgan Library & Museum. Photo: Graham S. Haber.

NEW YORK, NY.- Monika Grzymala, the Berlin-based artist celebrated for her site-specific works that are grounded in drawing but expand into three dimensions, created a large-scale installation at the Morgan Library & Museum this summer. Titled Volumen, the work is composed of thousands of sheets of handmade paper, some of them printed with images of autograph manuscripts from the Morgan’s collection, connected with bookbinding yarn and suspended from the ceiling of the museum’s Gilbert Court. The work will be on view from July 19 to November 3, and continues the Morgan’s annual series of installations of contemporary sculpture.

According to the artist, Volumen is a visual celebration of paper as a vehicle employed by artists, writers, and composers for creative expression. The title alludes not only to the large size of the work but also—through the word lumen—to the flux of light that will change the work’s appearance throughout the day in the glass-enclosed, 50-foot-high Court. The installation is the fourth in the Morgan’s summer sculpture series which began in 2010. Previous artists have included Mark di Suvero, Xu Bing, and Ellsworth Kelly.

Working from the basket of a lift, Grzymala attached the strings of sheets of paper to a nearly invisible net of monofilament line hanging from the ceiling. The work includes five thousand irregular white sheets of paper handmade by the artist with mulberry fiber in her Berlin studio, three thousand of which are blank, and two thousand of which reproduce autograph manuscripts in a variety of languages. Once finished with the week-long process, the artist pulled the strings of paper diagonally towards the south side of the Court, where the entrance to Pierpont Morgan’s iconic 1906 library is located. The pages that reproduce manuscripts in the Morgan’s collection are concentrated near the library, gradually blending with the blank sheets of paper, creating a sculptural volume totaling one thousand cubic meters or 36,615 cubic feet.

The Morgan’s series of summertime installations of contemporary sculpture has become a highlight of the season,” said William M. Griswold, director of the museum. “Begun four years ago, it has added an exciting element to the visitor experience in Gilbert Court. The Morgan is delighted to have Monika Grzymala continue the series, particularly since her paper installations are noted for their creative response to architecture and space.”

Berlin-based Monika Grzymala (German, b. 1970 in Poland) describes herself as an artist who draws in three dimensions, and defines drawing itself as a thought guided by the hand. The artist works with ephemeral materials—including tape, handmade paper, and objects found locally—to create site-specific, temporary, and ephemeral “architectural interventions” based on the vocabulary of line.

Monika Grzymala has participated in many international group exhibitions, including On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2010. Her solo exhibitions and site-specific projects have taken place throughout Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Between 2008 and 2010 Grzymala created two large-scale installations with handmade Washi paper titled Up There Up Here for a private residence in Manhattan. She will soon begin work on another site-specific commission, a sculpture garden for the rooftop of the Woodner Company building in New York City.

The River, Grzymala’s project for the 18th Biennale of Sydney in 2012, and The River II, currently part of a group exhibition 49 Nord 6 Est at the FRAC Lorraine in Metz, France, bear resemblance to her upcoming installation at the Morgan. The River was created primarily from cotton rag paper made by Euraba Aboriginal Artists and Papermakers in Boggabilla, a community of women at the border of NSW and Queeensland / Australia.

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