The story begins with home-making.
In May of 2009, Francesca moved to Seattle, taking up residence in Ballard, in a house built in 1909. Moldy wallpaper covered most of the interior, pasted layer upon layer over the underlying plaster- almost ¼” thick. Scraping and cleaning the walls became an ongoing project in the effort to clean and remodel. Francesca began to carve into the wallpaper, inserting a large scale relief depicting the cellular structure of moss on a wall of her living room.
In August of 2009, Piotr Michalowski, Agata’s father, moved into a house in Issaquah, built in 1984. It was an empty and clean space. Throughout the coming months Agata visited from Rhode Island and helped her father fill it with furniture, carpets and objects.
That summer the collaboration began with the idea of transplanting an element of the moldy, patterned Ballard house onto the pristine white walls in Issaquah.
The salvaged wallpaper became the point of departure. Drawings from microscopic images of Rhizopus (mold) were translated into eighty three different templates. These were then traced onto the wallpaper and other papers and cut out, accumulating as elements of an installation.
In February of 2011 Francesca began carving a series of five woodblocks resembling decorative wallpaper. Built with elements based on the magnified cells of Rhizopus, the pattern can be read as either emerging or disintegrating through the progression of the five prints.
In March of 2011 the cutouts were installed onto a wall in the guest bedroom of the Issaquah house. This is now a permanent part of the space.
In July of 2011 at Cullom Gallery in downtown Seattle, hundreds of paper pieces will be temporarily implemented onto the walls. The woodblock prints as well as a catalog, an inventory of all the mold templates, will be part of the exhibition.
The “walls” project has three parts: carved wallpaper in the Ballard house; the wallpaper cut and inserted into the Issaquah house; and an installation at Cullom Gallery. Embedded into the Issaquah and the Ballard homes, it is a constant element in spaces that keep changing as the houses are restructured, painted and scrubbed.
July/ August 2011