NAME: Katya Grokhovsky
STUDIO LOCATION: 728 Sackett Street
TIME IN BROOKLYN: A year
SHARED STUDIO: No
[Editors’ Note: This coming weekend, we’ll be touring Brooklyn for GO open studios, an event in which visitors vote on which artist they feel deserves to get an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. As a service to both ourselves and other readers, we’ve scoured the event’s pages for the most promising studios and then sent those artists an email with a few questions about their work. The following posts relay what they told us.]
Grokhovsky’s work was once described as “downright freaky dirty,” and that’s enough for us to chat with her.
Where are you from? What’s your background?
I was born in Ukraine and I am from Melbourne, Australia. My cultural background is a mixture of Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian. My artistic educational background includes Bachelors in Fashion Design and Painting and an MFA in Sculpture.
Are you showing your work in galleries?
Yes, I show my work in all sorts of spaces, including galleries, both commercial and artist-run, as well as non-profit organizations, museums, and apartment galleries. I also do love showing in alternative and raw, unusual spaces, non-art, public places, including the street, where I can intervene site-specifically and performatively.
Why are you participating in GO?
I am quickly becoming a devoted Brooklynite and just actually enjoy opening up my studio as a way of connecting with the community and GO is a great way to do that. It seems exciting to be a part of something that is borough-wide and is organized by such an iconic Brooklyn institution.
What’s the best thing someone’s ever said to describe your work?
That’s an interesting question, especially for someone who engages often in live performance work and actions, where the feedback is immediate and into your ear, so to speak. I feel like I have pretty much heard all descriptions of my work by now, with many variations, from extremely negative to ecstatic and highly encouraging and touching, too. However my recent favorites are: “Your work is terrifying!” and “Oh, this is so raw, gross, sensual, sexual, downright freaky dirty. I like it very much.”
Do you need to work out to execute your performances? In some of your performances, you dance around, smear stuff on your face, and lift heavy stuff.
It really depends on the particular work I am trying to execute. I think more often than not my mental state needs to be worked out and fine-tuned much more before my physical state can catch up. Basically, I need to “shake it all out”, mentally and physically, if that makes sense. I do that often through intensive writing, voicing, and dance before I begin work on a particular performance. In order to create some difficult durational work, I concentrate on meditation and mental endurance exercises, which then in turn support my body. I am naturally quite strong and visceral in my being, I do like lifting, destroying, and throwing things, moving energetically, but I also often sit or stand still for hours, with stuff smeared on my face. So my training is tailor-made to each action and quite eccentric and often becomes part of the work.