“untitled (soft built)” an interview with Pia Krajewski

Léa Lotey-Goodman is a writer for Artuner who has recently interviewed Pia Krajewski (b. 1990 Cologne) a Dusseldorf-based artist on her show “untitled (soft built)”.  The six works in “untitled (soft built)” all give new life to the subjects they depict through their organic qualities, their acute detail, and through Krajewski’s signature style in which aesthetics dominate the canvas. Drawing from a wide array of sources of inspiration, Krajewski’s art continuously pushes its viewers to question what they are faced with. The anthropomorphic and organic aspects of her work are what bring it to a specific space where abstract meets figurative. Krajewski’s show is being featured until February 28th, 2021. It can be viewed in a 3D gallery.

Could you tell us broadly about the works in this show, and the process of creating them?
The exhibition shows six new works that were created in 2020. They show objects or shapes that are supposedly known, which consist of gentle curves and haptic structures. Maybe from an unknown world that only exists for its own sake. My paintings are mostly oversized inflated, depicting small details of shapes or surfaces that I find aesthetically attractive and assemble into new objects. I often see the forms as sculptural objects that I shape in my drawings and emulate the curves and shades. I like the almost physical vision that lets you feel the surfaces of the objects with your eyes. Most of the paintings are superhumanly large and invite you to immerse yourself in the landscapes of the surfaces and listen to your own (physical) perception.

Can I ask you about your use of color? Your chromatic preferences are striking. What does color evoke for you? Is there symbolism in your choice of colours?
I often have a very clear idea of what color an object should be. Some surface structures only seem to make sense in certain colors. This has less to do with symbolic meaning than with the intuitive experience of the forms. The process of mixing the different shades of colors together sometimes takes days before I start painting on the canvas. The colors seem to assign the objects even more to another world, and yet they are inviting, maybe even have something cozy, the soft shapes with the gentle color nuances invite you to lie down with your eyes.

Is there an artwork in “Untitled (Soft Built) you are most proud of? Why?
Difficult to say. I think the painting “untitled (SäulenFabrik)” has something special for me. The process was a bit different compared to the others. I started this work a few years ago, but I couldn’t finish it before my residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin and left it in my studio in Düsseldorf. Then two years later I came back to this painting. The idea of the image somehow stuck to me and I continued working on it. The pillars or tree trunks now became soft upholstery or fabric pillars and the sorting compartments became gentle hills, from which the perhaps fragile pillars are pushed out.

What propelled you to pursue art as a career? Did you have a decisive moment, or were you always determined to be an artist?
I’ve always had an enthusiasm for approaching things through painting or drawing, to create something out of my imagination and to create a new world of my own. During my school days it became increasingly clear that I wanted to make this my job. My art teachers were great role models and mentors and that’s how I made it to the Düsseldorf Art Academy right after school.

Is working as an artist what you anticipated?
I think in the course of my studies I had to work off some romanticizing ideas from the artist’s life in order to be able to get to my everyday life at the studio now. I have created the environment that I love and that is good for me: my studio together with the artists Antonia Rodrian and Antonia Freisburger and our exhibition space “sonneundsolche”. We create our own community and a platform in which we can support other artists and have a constructive exchange with one another.

Who is your greatest influence?
Probably Domenico Gnoli as an artist.

Your work invites the viewer to view its subject matter from an unusual perspective. Do you think this is something we have had to practice collectively due to the pandemic? How does the notion of “new perspectives” impact your work?
Interesting thought! Of course, the pandemic has forced us all to pause and re-experience and rethink our relationship with our environment. A valuable change of perspective. A rapture from everyday life and a new listening in ourselves. To question our personal reactions and attitudes. Allowing changes and redesigning our relationship to our environment.

In relation to my work, the change of perspective is of course a very playful one. I imagine what it must be like to fight your way through the jungle of a flokati as a louse, or what a pine cone would do when a soft blanket wraps around its arches.

Can you explain your process for choosing subject matter? Do your works always stem from specific objects, or will you start with a shape that evolves to an object?
I am often inspired by certain surfaces or shapes that I encounter in everyday life. For a few years now I’ve been making a small photo archive in which I capture small moments that are haptically appealing or whose soft shapes and shades I find interesting, that can be plants or materials, fabrics … Sometimes, stimulated by such discoveries, the objects develop into my paintings.


How has lockdown affected your artistic practice? What has this period taught you?
I am very grateful that I was able to continue working in my studio without restrictions. Of course, many canceled or postponed exhibitions were also bitter for me. I missed the direct exchange in the lockdown times, the studio visits and the encounters at openings. Nevertheless, I was able to realize two large solo exhibitions with my gallery and had great, digital though personal, exchanges with collectors and curators. But of course I’m looking forward to being able to show my paintings to an audience again very soon, physically and in a more conventional way.

What future projects are you most excited for?
There will soon be a group exhibition at the Gomo ArtSpace in Vienna, there will also be a group exhibition in Essen at Raum + and a few other projects that are in the works

Text by Léa Lotey-Goodman
Instagram: @lealgoodman

Instagram: @piakrajewski

Instagram: @theartuner