Article by Berlin Art Link in Berlin // Tuesday, Jun. 16, 2015
In this series, Berlin Visitors, we profile artists who are passing through Berlin as part of residencies, studio exchanges, or exhibitions. The short interviews included in this series aim to explore the international and multi-cultural perspectives on Berlin as a place for art-making.
Berlin Art Link: Briefly describe where you are from and how you ended up in Berlin.
Raquel Paiewonsky: I am from the Dominican Republic. I have been living and working there for over a decade although I started my artistic practice in New York in the 90’s. I came to Berlin through DAI (Davidoff Art Initiative), which is a program that invites artists from the DR to go to residencies around the world and vice versa, artists from different places to go to the Altos de Chavón residency in Dominican Republic.
BAL: You had the option to work in New York and Beijing – what drew you to Berlin?
RP: Berlin has such a rich and intense art community, there is so much going on here, I was very seduced by such an open minded, relaxed and creative space so it seemed like the natural choice.
BAL: How has your recent work incorporated elements of the city you’re currently working in?
RP: As soon as I arrived the energy of the city hit me. The history, the architecture, the flohmarkts, all the recycled stuff and the amazing park culture. So I got some vintage landscape paintings at Boxhagener Platz and started a series of collage work on them. I am also upholstering by hand standard construction Berliner blocks with fabrics from the Dominican markets in Santo Domingo and the Turkish market in Kreuzberg.
BAL:What have been the biggest rewards and challenges of working on your installations at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, and in a new city?
RP: The biggest reward has been to work in a large, bright and semi empty studio. Not having crates, packed shelves and stuff around has been a treat. Being able to walk a lot has also been great; I come from a culture of excessive driving!
Not speaking German and not finding someone to speak to at the hardware store has been a challenge.
BAL: Would you come back for a longer stay?
More information about Raquel Paiewonsky’s work : www.raquelpaiewonsky.com