Conceptual Artist, Editor at Rizzoli New York
Growing up in Poland during the communist revolution profoundly impacted Martynka Wawrzyniak’s life and career as a conceptual artist. Necessities were scarce, and this minimalist way of life is reflected in her work today. She has lived independently since the age of 18, when she moved to New York where she successfully pursued a career as an artist and publisher. She is an editor for Rizzoli New York, an international publishing house, and has exhibited her multimedia work globally. In her practice, Martynka explores issues of femininity, gluttony, violence and nationality in a way that is often visceral and confrontational for the viewer.
You are of Polish origin?
Yes, I was born and raised in Poland. Because it was communist, we immigrated to New Zealand when I was eight years old. We lived in New Zealand for ten years, and then, 22 years ago, I came to America.
How old were you when Lech Walesa and the revolution were going on?
My whole childhood really. I was so young. We finally left around 1987, toward the end of Communism.
Were you alone when you came to the U.S.?
No, my father came to the United States when I was six. At that time, many Polish fathers left our country to make money. Two years later, my mother, my sister and I moved to New Zealand. My father went back to Poland in 2000, and my brother was born in Warsaw.
And your mother?
She’s in New Zealand. But, I came here where my father was. I just started my own life.
How old were you when you started your own life?
I came to the United States when I was about 18. I didn’t live with my father though; but he lived in New York as well.