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born 1976 in Walbrych, Poland, currently based in NYC, USA
HB NANO Artist
Elisabeth Smolarz (b. 1976) is a New York-based artist from Poland. Smolarz is a visual artist who often asks strangers to become participants and collaborators in her projects in order to expose collective consciousness and patterns of behavior.
Her solo exhibitions include Hein und seine Sippe, Kunstverein Wagenhalle, Stuttgart, Germany (2016). Her group shows include AIM Biennial, The Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY (2013); The Situation, 3rd Moscow Biennale, Moscow, Russia (2009); In Practice, The Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY (2007): and The Shot, Reykjavik Photography Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland (2006).
Her residencies include Guttenberg Arts Residency, Guttenberg, NJ (2015); Homebase Project Residency, Jerusalem, Israel (2014); AIM Artist Residency, Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY (2013); and LMCC’s Swing Space, New York, NY (2013).
Smolarz holds a B.F.A and an M.F.A from the State Academy for Fine Arts, Stuttgart, Germany.
Description of work created at HB NANO:
ELISABETH SMOLARZ March 10-31
FRAGMENTS Conversations about home
Home is where you are loved.
Your home isn’t necessarily a house.
You can live where ever you want, but because you can live where ever you want you can make your home wherever you want.
In times you even take your home with you - when people welcome you in to their home and they say make yourself at home in the sense where you can make yourself comfortable.
this is a place where you’re loved, respected, appreciated as you are.
so you can live where ever you want, but to make your home, to make the place you feel is your garden, your kingdom - it can be any where - but most of the time you take it with you. you might escape from an other country, I leave my house and my friends, and I am here in the new country making my self a new home, a place I can say this is mine, I feel safe in.
I decide what happens in my home.
So it’s very much where you’re loved. Where you feel this is place where I feel safe, where I can be myself, where I can decide what happens in this place, how it will grow and evolve.
Language is a very important issue in my life. It’s also my job.
The usual you know....
I grew up on a kibbutz.
My kibbutz is half a kilometer from the boarder of Gaza where they bomb all the time... So...
Life in nature.
Kibbutz is very special. It’s much more interesting then living as a couple.
Nowadays many people don’t know about kibbutz. Anything.
It’s nature. The people I love. I have lots of friends. My family I have a small family.
My mother was born is Germany.
My father was born in Belgium. His parents died in Auschwitz. His sister and him left.
There is also this.
You know on the kibbutz we didn’t grow up with parents. I lived with my group of children.
They are like my brothers and sisters.
We never slept with the parents.
Not even one night.
From the hospital straight to the kindergarden.
I think I am very lucky to have been part of this huge social experiment. The more you understand it... with a little bit of distance.
The whole way of thinking...
The house of my parents.
In Hebrew home is “bait”.
We didn’t call it “bait”. We called it a room. Because the kibbutz is home.
It was all about: Everybody is equal.
One day you will be the manager of the kibbutz,
the second day you will clean tables in the dining room. It was like this by the law of the kibbutz.
Two or three year in a job and then you change. Because everybody is equal.
We all had the same clothes.
The dream was so naive...
Believing in the human spirit, which doesn’t work today anymore.... We were very isolated.
We were not exposed to the city.
Far away in in the desert.
We did go to the cities to visit families, but our lives were very much isolated.
It’s not like this anymore.
You know it’s your small universe and the big universe around - they talk to each other. To pin point something is difficult.
For my son it’s his father and mother. His brother. They are very close.
I think the atmosphere at home also.
For my husband.....
He keeps saying the the whole world is his home.
He is the citizen of the world.
He hasn’t seen his family in many many years.
He is a traitor because he married an Israeli Jew, which is the worst.
They have a black list for people who can not enter Egypt.
His mother died.
His brother and sister died.
I was on a mission to make sure he can see his father before he dies, but I know it won’t happen. I have many connections, and I tried everything, but about two years ago I stopped.
So this is home for him.
Because home is your friends, your family, your food, everything.
For me every time I go a place in Israel where my friends are living, where the people are much more like me, then the people around here. Every time I get there I feel at home.
Because the speak my language.
They talk about the food I like to eat...
It’s had for me to explain, but there I feel at home.
Every time I get there I feel at home. Every time I get to Tel Aviv I feel at home. I can be myself there.
I have many homes...
The third home is in the north of Israel - most of my friends are there...
This is my home. Here it’s my home.
Of course I have the feeling of coming home. Thats something that I have and I love.
It’s a place.... with things that you love... and.... People you love of course!
The cats and the books.
Having the hot water at the exact right time you want.
the was an other flower this morning that went out... and these kind of things... I want to say that its safe.
I don’t know if safety has anything to do with it....
It’s a place that I made for myself.
I mean in the fridge I would have what I need....
And I have these piles of books right next to my bed...