Nowak’s sculptures, installations, and performances are isolated fragments of her memories and experiences. ‘The psyche is expanded’ is the title of a text by Marzena Nowak about her work. Nowak transforms exhibition spaces into physical echoes of her psyche. Memories of childhood and youth materialize in the artifacts exhibited and can almost be physically experienced in the room. Nowak abstracts and minimizes, using emptiness and spaces in between to create psychological distance. Again and again, she uses patterns and repetitions to bring the invisible, the quiet, and the fleeting closer to us.
In her new installation ‘Hinweg’ at Neuer Kunstverein Wien, she fills the exhibition space with fragrant rosewood chains hanging from the ceiling; these are materials and shapes also used for making rosaries.
By enclosing the room with vertically hanging chains, she creates an arcane spatial structure whose labyrinthine character inevitably attracts the viewer and invites them to walk through. By alluding to prayer cords, Nowak not only addresses the parallelism of the religious practice of repeated prayers and meditative techniques in various religions from Christianity to Hinduism and Buddhism to Islam, but she also addresses the art-historical tradition of the rosary theme from Dürer to Caravaggio.
Her work ‘Hinweg’ turns the art space into a place of retreat, for reflection and contemplation. But at the same time, she reflects on the social debate about the relationship between art and religion. She says: ‘I want to create a very poetic space. I imagine the moments of a silent whisper, unannounced, unheard of, that transform into an almost physical, tangible sound.’