Born 1986 in Paris, France.Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Biography & Statement
Defying the boundaries between different artistic disciplines, Mankowski’s work is characterized by an exuberant use of the impasto technique, through which she creates textural and spatial shapes that move her paintings into the realm of sculpture. With the distinction between two-dimensional and three-dimensional work thoroughly dismantled, Mankowski has developed a unique visual language. While her compositions may seem abstract to the casual viewer, they are reminiscent of blueprints and ground maps widely used in architectural design and urban planning. Indeed, many of her paintings are loosely inspired by the ground maps of the quarries she visited during her years as an architect
.Trained at the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris, Mankowski worked as an architect alongside Jean Nouvel and Vito Acconci before turning to painting. Her architectural background still resonates strongly in her paintings.
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16 September 2021 - 16 Oct 2021
ROTTERDAM ART WEEK 2023
9-12 February 2023
LUXEMBOURG ART WEEK 2022
10-13 November 2022
The series of works by Natacha Mankowski currently on view at Valerius Gallery takes reference on the old stone quarries of Mount Pentelicus in Greece. Mount Pentelicus (also known as Hades wall / Cave of Nymphs / Cave of Pan) is a mountain in Attica, Greece, situated northeast of Athens. It has been famous for its marble since antiquity. Pentelic marble was used for the construction of buildings in ancient Athens, particularly the Acropolis.In the autumn of 2021, Mankowski spent a few weeks studying and walking the abandoned area with friends.
The roadway, used to transport marble blocks from the quarry to the Acropolis in Antiquity, is a continual downhill that follows the natural lay of the land. The pentelic marble is white with a uniform, faint yellow tint, which makes it shine with a golden hue under sunlight. Minerals found on site go from calcite (translucent white to gold yellow), clay (light creme/beige), quartz (translucent grey), micas (light silver), iron oxides (rusty red) and graphite (dark silver). These minerals constitute Mankowski's palette - evolving from light golds to colored greys.Between nature and culture - and here even mythology - quarries are at a sensitive equilibrium between overuse and abandon. This brings up the importance of controlling the extraction of marble, to satisfy fundamental needs and not only for the sake of growth. This shows the importance / the aim to reintegrate and inhabit our environment in meaningful ways.
Architects and builders often collect their raw materials in stone quarries. Midway between nature and the built environment, quarries are transitional sites in which natural resources are excavated and turned into raw commodities to be used in buildings. They raise difficult questions about how humans have turned nature into sites for commodification, triggering ecological ruin and collapse. Inspired by these issues, Mankowski has explored and visited many of these quarries, paying close attention to their geographical lay-out and the unique selection of raw materials on site