Maria Nordman

Maria Nordman (born in Silesia [Görlitz, Germany, a city conjoined with Zgorzelec, Poland]) is a sculptor and conceptual artist living and working in cities where her works are being realised, and currently in Los Angeles, USA. Over the course of the past five decades, she has opened inter-cultural works on streets, exploring whether a meaning spectrum can come from any person arriving by chance. Practicing innovative workings that generate inclusivity on the streets, Nordman continues to connect the various cities where she produces works; each one a potential participant in a larger archive/sculpture enaction. She notes: “Each person can potentially create a fabric with persons of another city for a new context of works in the open place.” Within this context, an archive/sculpture that is intergenerational < > intercultural and for persons of different geo-origins could become part of this seminal itinerant work process. In choosing to start to work directly with the person arriving by chance on streets and parks during the sixties and seventies, Nordman set new precedents for working in the larger urban context, asking: “Is it possible to be opening the meaning production for art to any person, without limitation as to who could be the producer?” Her works, FILMROOM EXHALE 1967–present and FILMROOM EAT 1967–present, are regarded in new critical texts as the initiators of subsequent works with rooms in public places. Her influence holds an open regard for working with time, and her latest book, GEO-AESTHETICS, is seen as a sculpture / museum / archive in itself. For Nordman, the search for the site of the archive/sculpture is a project of decades and in “choosing the specificity of site and time, each person arriving could enact the geo-solar conditions into new forms of meanings.” Her works include musical interventions, inter-performances, architectural constructions, productions of film rooms, books, poetry publications and Standing Pictures. Featured in exhibitions around the world, her work process includes two major projects at the Venice Biennale and two works with rooms in the city of Kassel with Documenta. Nordman has a B.F.A. and M.A. from U.C.L.A. and considers “working at schools as part of my sculptural practice.” She has produced sixteen books/sculptures. From 1967–1986, her first book was given entirely to the process of personal memory and creating a record of the spoken word of any visitor to the work. She recalls that “in that two-decade long work, any person arriving at the work could become its implicit curator, a practice that continues now in other ways, with the finding of a time and a place for an archive/sculpture.”

UNTITLED, 1980–present
Untitled is a conceptual and community-based artwork by Maria Nordman. The single elements of wood that constitute this open construction are each presented as a sculpture with its own shadow, perceived while inside. The work explores the presence of the body in relation to architecture, community, participation and public place. In its placement, we find each element as an elemental sculpture. Later, the wooden elements could form a micro-house, with space for two standing persons or the work could potentially become an inter-performative community enaction toward the end of the exhibition, with volunteers and colleagues walking with the fragments of a tree-building through the forest in Moss. However, Untitled is not only formed by its physical elements, it also becomes a work of art through its activation and the completely contradictory meaning of its structures. Nordman is known as one of the most visionary artists to emerge from California in recent years. Her focus on direct experience and the ‘co-authorial role’ she ascribes to visitors of her works pre-engages the practices of artists who have emerged over the last decades. Her practice engages chance, time and place to create unique experiences where the roles of viewer and producer begin to merge, allowing participants to construct their own meaning spectrum.

M11 Room22 2

Image:
An installation photo of Maria Nordman’s Untitled.
Photo: MOMENTUM. Courtesy of the practitioner.

An installation photo of Maria Nordman’s Untitled.
Photo: MOMENTUM. Courtesy of the practitioner.