GiG MUNICH: “Be curious, be interested, research”

Artwork by Emanuele Becheri. Image credit: GiG Munich.

GiG is an artspace in Munich with a strong theoretical component. Theory and practice are developed simultaneously. In our interview the founder Magdalena Wisniowska shares, what makes this artspace unique, what the challenges are and what inspires them.

Why and how did you start this artspace?
Magdalena Wisniowska: I started the space in its current location late 2015. Previously I did a few exhibitions before the building was officially finished. Initially at least, GiG was my way of becoming part of the Munich art scene. In the UK, I was a lecturer at various art schools and in Germany I missed having direct contact with art and artists. I wanted to establish a platform in which theoretical ideas gain expression as practice.

What is your mission? What is unique about your artspace?
Very few spaces have as strong a theoretical component as GiG Munich. Each exhibition is a collaboration between the artist and myself, practice and theory, and both are developed simultaneously.

Images from the artworks in the exhibition “Bildhauer*in der Sinne” at GiG Munich by the artists Beth Collar and Emanuele Becheri. The show was curated by Beniamino Foschini. Image credit: GiG Munich.

What kind of artists do you show? How do you find them? 
Before Corona’s series of lockdowns, GiG did about 5 exhibitions a year, mainly solo and small group exhibitions. I mainly work with young, up-and-coming artists, often offering them their first solo exhibition. When I started, it was difficult to convince artists to show with a new, unknown space, but since then there has been more momentum. I choose artists on the basis of what I see exhibited elsewhere (the Academy Diploma show, at the BBK, Kunstverein, or the many city-run art space available in Munich). Occasionally someone is recommended to me. I always have  a personal relationship with the artist (so I make studio visits) before deciding to exhibit them. 

What are your challenges?
In Munich, I find that the biggest challenge is to get an audience. Yes, friends and family will come to see a local artist, but it is difficult to get people to come consistently. Language for me was also an issue, but that got better. 

I wanted to establish a platform in which theoretical ideas gain expression as practice.
– Magdalena Wisniowska, founder of GiG Munich

What was the most unusual or the most memorable project in your space so far?
There were so many! The current exhibition is perhaps the most beautiful I have shown, but the performance by Plastique Fantastique was amazing, Maria VMier’s tea ceremony was also very, very cool, the paintings by Jane Hayes Greenwood or Hannes Heinrich, moving around pigment sculptures by Andrea Zabric, Tim Bennett being filmed while drilling in a dust cloud or Susanne Wagner installing her floor piece — and how Robin Mason covered the back wall with his paintings. There has been so much.

What artwork, that is or was shown in the artspace, would you like to take home? 
Oh, I am very lucky to have a few at home already. But sometimes I think, yes, I wish I kept Robin Mason’s entire wall. 

What do you like about the Munich art scene? Why?
I like the ambition, especially of the newer galleries. 

Impressions from the GiG Munich artspace. Image credit: GiG Munich

Which is the last artwork you saw that impressed you?
Just recently? Beth Collar’s piece at GiG I find very powerful, as I did her exhibition at Stadium, Berlin. 

Which piece of media inspired you recently?
I do read a lot of books, but tend to return again and again to the same few. I am currently researching the chapter “1730: Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming- Imperceptible …” in Deleuze and Guattari’s “Thousand Plateaus,” so I am also reading a lot of Artaud, Kleist, Holderin, Lowry, Fitzgerald, Freud, Kant and Spinoza. I found Arjen Kleinherenbrink’s interpretation of Deleuze as a speculative realist astonishing. 

Which artists, curators or other art world people do you recommend for the readers to check out? 
I leave that for the readers to decide for themselves. I would say, just go to shows, go to openings (when they return). There are so many! Make it a habit, be curious, be interested, research. 

Find GiG Munich online here
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Magdalena Wisniowska (b.1980): “I run the space part time, on my own. Full time, I am an independent researcher and author with a PhD, my research interest: philosophy (especially the work of Gilles Deleuze), aesthetics and art theory. For a taste of my writing style, see the Sad Mondays series on”

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