Artists
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 Maika Garnica

The memory of summer turns exceptionally abstract as dense packs of gray clouds lay down a soothing gloom over Deurne’s Tweemontstraat. A few houses ahead of us, a sizzling little bomblet is thrown out of a hastily closing door: its loud bang echoes between the rows of houses. Inside, children can be seen hiding behind the windows on all fours, curiously observing the effects of their prank. Further down the road, Maika Garnica stands waving at us through the drizzling mist. Her new atelier houses in an industrial building, renovated and managed by Studio Start and home to a dozen young artists. With the complex neighbouring the base of some Polish construction workers as well as a good old-fashioned “drinks center”, she usually finds herself in good company here. Yet on this very last Sunday of the year, the site lies abandoned. Inside, an old, dysfunctional kitchen is the sole reminiscent of times passed. Nowadays, the room functions as Maika’s creative headquarters, giving shelter to the outlandish clay instruments she has created throughout recent years, many of which are stripped of their bubble wrap protection during our conversation. More so than mere lifeless aesthetic objects, they appear as stages within an ongoing research into matter, vibration and community.
26 February 2019 | AG 14

Traces to Nowhere

In the summer of 2015, Maika, together with Chakky Kato en Senne Claes – all freshly graduated – is invited to participate in the annual theater festival “Theater aan Zee” in Ostend. The three of them decide to join forces, which marks the beginning of

“I always find it very rewarding to work together on something. You have your own practice and interests, which is great as a starting point, but I find it enriching to share this with others, maybe someone doing something completely different, you nev

The result is “Traces to Nowhere”, a composition later released as a flexidisk housed in a screen-printed sleeve: both music and cover left vulnerable to the same temporality characterizing the traces made on Ostend’s beach. 

“Although I have to admit the music lasts longer than I expected. All three of us work with music in our individual practice, but at the same time the visual aspect remains very important for us.”

Genève

This attention to visual appearance testifies to a balance between functionality and aesthetics which Maika intensively explores with the self-made instruments she builds and plays:
 “I’m still a visual artist, and form and aesthetics

 The first experiments with instrument building took place during an exchange year spent in Genève:
“I had to submit a project to be accepted into the ceramics studio and knew I really wanted to incorporate sound into my sculpting pra

Maika started designing and creating instruments which explore precisely this physicality. An example is pulled out of a box for us to try out ourselves: a sort of horn of which the outer end points towards the player’s stomach. The indi

As such, Maika’s last creation made in Genève could hardly be more significant. It is an “updated” version of the horn, this time suited for two players.

Matter / Vibration

Back in Antwerp, Maika quickly and fully devotes herself to instrument building:
“Nowadays I exclusively focus on these instruments. I really want to explore sound vibrations in relation to clay, and see how far you can go with this. I spend a

A sketchbook full of drawings and designs of multifarious instruments testifies to the extensive investigations preceding their actual creation. Yet despite this ever-increasing experience and knowledge, it would be a mistake to understand Maika’s prac

This element of surprise points to an ongoing dialogue between the artist and her material. Its amplification in performance invites us to eavesdrop upon the conversation. As such, the self-reflectiveness of her first instruments is definitively exchan

Cover photo credits: Rudi Caeyers. Illustration by Watcharita Aroon.