GuestFrame 61

Goia Mujalli

GuestFrame 61
Goia Mujalli

"I like to explore the difference of mark making, one made by the brush and the other with the use of screen-printing. Some of the painted marks have the intention of resembling a print aspect."


Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How long have you been a practicing artist and where did you study?

I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; a city that is surrounded by nature. The waterfalls, the sea and street carnivals were a great part of my years living there. Initially, I trained and worked as a graphic designer, although painting was always present. I would often take evening art classes, which led me to move to London and study my BA at the Slade School of Fine Art, which brought more of a critical and theoretical discourse to my work.

By moving to London, I experienced a diverse and exciting culture that felt solitary at the same time. The difference of light in the city affected the way in which I chose colours and how I approached my process of making. My practice became more immersive and this was when I truly began to accept myself as an artist. Upon finishing my BA I went to undertake my masters at the Royal College of Art, which I have just finished.

You recently had your Graduation show, how do you feel it went?

I felt very positive about the Graduation show, as both painting and screen-printing were finally combined on the surface of the canvas. It was interesting to see how I could bring together works that would summarise the experiments I made during the course of two years. Previously, screen-printing and textiles had only been explored separately from paintings.

The exhibition was a chance to show an experience of an investigation of the materiality of paint, and this show was only the beginning of something that I will explore for many years. What made it really important for me during the process was the exploration of layering and the tension by the difference of mark making on the surface. The paintings became more complex and layered, which was always something I wanted to achieve. With the use of screen-printing I could create images with a high amount of details and textures that with a brush I cannot achieve.

Meteorite 2017

Water 2017

There is a lot of movement in your work, using water, acrylic and screen-printing. Could you tell us about these works and the meaning behind them?

Having been brought up by the sea, I have always had an interest in water. Water has no identity, it is everywhere and anyone can have it. We are made of 70% water. Water unites all continents. Water has no colour. Half of its colour is a reflection of the sky, the other half a reflection of what is below the surface. Water is in constant change and flow. It relates to movement. I realised that acrylic was the best medium to capture this movement as I am able to dilute the paint with a lot of water.

There is an interest in additive and subtractive actions. Through exploring texture, and the use of layering I open up ambiguous spaces. The repetition of continuous rhythmic motifs creates an essence of a pre-existing thing, which makes the paintings partially representational. This repetition comes from music, especially songs by the Brazilian musician called Baden Powell who has always been an influence to my work.

I like to explore the difference of mark making, one made by the brush and the other with the use of screen-printing. Some of the painted marks have the intention of resembling a print aspect. There is a tension between the erased marks and screen-printed images, as some of these marks have traces of a previous action and others are present on the surface. The screen-printed image used for the painting called Meteorite, are photographs that were digitally obliterated to the point where it reached a low quality and became pixelated. The process of printing allows me to create digital images and brings to the work a sharp and detailed quality. I find it important to have these two different methods of working, as one requires planning that involves a machine and the other a less calculated process.  

Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine? What is your studio like?

Some early mornings I go for a walk or a run before arriving in the studio. Being in movement helps me think about current and new ideas in my paintings. When arriving at the studio it takes me at least an hour or two to understand what has been done on the previous day and how to respond to what is on the surface. I prepare large buckets of water and start mixing colours. Normally I work on many canvases simultaneously, using large pieces of canvas on the floor that absorbs the water and paint removed from the paintings. Some works like Water and Meteorite were done on the floor; I find that working this way offers me the possibility of capturing the idea of moving water.

Usually the floor is covered with these loose pieces of canvas with coloured stains and the walls are covered with coloured drips. The studio can get really messy, pots of colours and buckets of water spread across the floor, together with some paintings that are drying and others that are on the walls. The atmosphere of the studio is very active as I am currently moving across the space a lot, jumping from one work to the next. The floor being busy is part of the making of these paintings and I manage to find all the materials needed during the process. I have just moved into a new studio in Stockwell, which looks very clean. I am really looking forward to start making new works.

The colour at the base of the fall 2017

The colour at the base of the fall 2017

Brazilian bush 2017

Figueira (Fig tree) 2017

What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?

I was stunned by Helen Johnson’s paintings at the ICA this year. The amount of layering, labour and the narrative in those paintings really inspired me. I very much enjoyed the way they were hung in the space with metal stands showing both sides of the surface.

Roni Horn’s piece called Saying Water was important for my research on water together with her images of the river Thames. Her glass sculptures show how water can be represented by a different material, other than water itself and these sculptures, for me, represents a static version of water, as if they were a pool of water. I first saw one of those sculptures last year in a group show at the Hauser & Wirth. They are beautiful.

How do you go about naming your work?

Naming the work can come during the process of making them or at the end when the process of painting is finished. In order to conclude things about the work and decide on a name, conversations are the best way to go. I usually discover things about the work that I wouldn’t if it was only my mind thinking alone. I prefer to not show works that don’t have a name yet as for me; they have not yet been resolved. My paintings are abstract and ambiguous, so naming them becomes important as it gives direction to the viewer. Usually, it has a name of an existing object, a situation or a state.

Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?

After spending six years away from my country, I am now curious to see what the response will be towards my work there. I am currently organising a residency that will be happening in Rio in the next couple of years. Five artists will be invited to spend six weeks in Rio making work in a shared studio, leading to a group show at the end. I will also be having a solo show later in October this year in a gallery in the south of Brazil. For this I will be creating new works and I am really looking forward to that.

All images courtesy of the artist
Publish date 01/08/2017