The earliest known mummified corpses were created 9,000 years ago by the South American Chinchorro
people. Inner organs were replaced with natural fibres and animal hair, skin and flesh with clay. These days,
embalmers use formaldehyde, disinfectants, and additives, then apply thick layers of make-up with airbrush
Unique among the species, humans are preservers. We prevent food from spoiling with brine and benzoates,
smoke and polyphosphates. We ward off old age with retinol and collagen. We perpetuate social status and
opportunities by hoarding and bequeathing wealth.
Centred around ceramic casts of the inside of fridge doors, Monika Grabuschnigg’s 60bpm delves into and
savours the minor daily sorrows and devastating losses that define our lives. As often with her practice,
Grabuschnigg’s intensely material pieces radiate an ambient melancholy, a nagging and deeply physical ache.
A fridge is an archive, an accumulation of all the regret and care we gather around our private lives. Seen
another way, it’s a product of waste and excess: polystyrene-insulated, gurgling with fluorinated hydrocarbons,
fridges are cunning, reality-rejecting, almost supranatural black boxes we invite into our homes. Placed within
Grabuschnigg’s fridge doors are micro-tactics of preservation: casts of humectan-soaked under-eye pads,
facial serum blisters, single-dose pipette eye drops.
The four graphite drawings on silk wrapping sheets glow with a persistent, almost hopeful mourning. Against
the tender, satin-black paper, the necklaces glimmer with all the insistence of phantom limbs. By speaking
about love in the dark, diaphanous language of loss, they remind us that one isn’t possible without the other.
The tissue-box sculptures remind us of cleansing and self-care, those bodily routines and rituals we enact to
preserve our bodies against the grime and particulates of our addled world.
A human heart (another dark interior) beating 60 times per minute is the epitome of calmness and
composure. In this show, Grabuschnigg challenges us to find this state of grace even as we stare down into
the wet earth of our own dug grave; as we brace ourselves to fall.
Martin Jackson, 2023
Monika Grabuschnigg lives and works in Berlin. In her artistic practice she engages with topics like longing,
grief and melancholy. Translating domesticated and commodified objects (clothing, home appliances, plants)
into sculptures and installations, she explores the beliefs and desires that lie at the heart of what it means to
In 2020 and 2022, Grabuschnigg was awarded a grant of Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn; in 2018 she won the
Berlin Art Prize. Her works are represented in international private collections and several public institutions,
including: the State Museum Vorarlberg, the Artothek des Bundes in Vienna, and the Graphic Collection of
the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.