Sam and Javier smiling at camera surrounded by colorful shapes.

What’s Happening at Untitled: Creative Fusions on July 29?

Q&A with Sam Grabowska & Javier Flores
Sam and Javier holding a yellow triangle and smiling at camera.
Image of one of Javier's prints, featuring a bird, the golden ratio, and fire.

Javier Flores: The Illusion of Time. 2016.

Image of six mini sculptures made by Sam, which are crafted partially from human hair and mounted on wooden wall mount

Sam Grabowska: Species of a Body: Mounts 01-09. 2021.

The costume is a Polish army coat that was made from the year of my birth and the headdress I made, which is inspired by traditional Polish folk and Indigenous wear. Putting them together juxtaposes masculinity and femininity. I will be moving through different positions inspired by war drills from the 1950s. I also will be having guests take part by cutting off a lock of their hair, which I will sew to a flesh-colored mesh. There will also be a video component - AI-generated animations based on excerpts of my grandparents’ stories of their childhood and the war. Finally, as part of my performance, Gabriel Mervine will play a variation of a bugler’s call on his trumpet, inspired by a Polish myth I grew up with.

Javier: I am putting together a printmaking workshop where I will be having people make prints of different symbols, objects and things, including the myth of the trumpets from Sam’s background. These stories will be reenacted by printing them on paper and filling them in to large scale. There is also a collaborative altar that Sam and I are working on where we are paying respects to our ancestors and what is left from times past.

What is your inspiration for Untitled?

Sam: Our performance at Untitled deals a lot with connecting to our own cultures and roots. I am a first generation immigrant and with that comes a lot of intergenerational trauma. For this show, I delved into my personal family stories and cultural myths , and inputting these fragments of memory into an artificial intelligence text-to-image generator I am trying to retrieve my lineage and the only way to do that now is through a surrender to technology.

Javier: My inspiration is to signify the culture maker and artist and to represent immigrants. I am a first generation immigrant and come from a blue-collar family who worked hard for me to be here, who do not always understand what it means for me to be making art. It is a privilege for me to be able to create art and that is due to their sacrifice, and there are many components that go into the art that I make that come from them.

What do you hope guests will get out of this experience?

Sam: I hope that they will be intrigued at least and that it will make people curious. Art is based in personal narratives, so I hope that it will help them find their own narrative. I also want them to engage in the physical spaces of the museum differently than they usually would and to be conscious of the space and architecture.

Javier: A little bit of reflection about those who came before us. Sometimes we forget that it is a luxury to be able to participate in art and that is due to everything that comes before you. I also hope that people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the event and have fun interacting with everything that will be showcased.