Weiss’ current work focuses on memory and amnesia as reflected in the physical and political space of the city and how women's bodies act as as vehicles of public memory, including her own. Her work evokes ancient rituals of public lamentation as an act of political strength traditionally performed by organized groups of women.“…The lamentation which this work brings to us is an invitation to consider the mourning process in a more contemporary way: as a transformation whose ultimate result is unknowable. The suffering poetically presented by Monika Weiss shows the lineaments of a history and a political community that are far more complex and demanding than is usually thought, and that are capable of incorporating, rather than segregating, those who have been perennially absent: the victims and the defeated” wrote Adriana Valdes in Lamentation and the Locus of Memory: Monika Weiss’s Sustenazo (Lament II) (2012/monograph published by Museum of Memory and Human Rights, Santiago, Chile).
Introducing the artist's performance held as part of the Sensory Media Series at Harvard University in 2014, Krzysztof Wodiczko said of Weiss: "Her focus is on postmemory, a new field in which she is one of the most original artistic pioneers. Not being a proper witness, not being a proper survivor, and not being able to recall the very overwhelming events, Monika Weiss indirectly, on the basis of found fragments of images and encountered sites, chooses to inhabit them performatively through her art. She attempts to do so even if, in her words, they 'defy narrative reconstructions and exceed comprehension.' She does so through lamentation, an original, often public, performative, and collaborative form of her art."
Over the years the artist's work gradually expanded from drawing to installation to performance, and it culminates in the large-scale film projections with music composed by the artist, in which she combines minimalist, experimental and poetic approach with complex, historically and socially engaged narratives.
In 2005 Guy Brett wrote that Weiss “provides an alternative experience of space and time which is not end-driven but steady and enduring. […] The artist explores the prostrate body as a paradoxical sign of resistance to oppressive and militaristic cultures. Her work is a remarkable counterpoint between technological media and the ancient activity of drawing. Sound meticulously composed by the artist lifts the silent, filmed actions into another emotional register.”
Monika Weiss' solo museum exhibitions include the 2005 retrospective at the Lehman College Art Gallery, CUNY: Five Rivers, reviewed in The New York Times, as well as Sustenazo, commissioned by the CCA Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw, Poland (2010) and later shown at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, Santiago, Chile (2012) and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami (2014). Weiss’ works were shown alongside such artists as Ana Mendieta, Francis Alys, Alfredo Jarr and Mona Hatoum, among others. In 2004 Remy Toledo Gallery, New York, in cooperation with Galerie Samuel Lallouz, Montreal, organized a two person show of Carolee Schneemann and Monika Weiss.
Her work was featured in group exhibitions at Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Athens, Greece (international video art survey curated by Robert Storr, 2016); Eyebeam, New York (with Alan Sondheim, 2012), Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation/CIFO, Miami (Forms of Classification, 2006; The Prisoner’s Dilemma, 2008) and was part of Prague’s Muzeum Montanelli (MuMo)’s inaugural show in 2010. Weiss' writings appeared in publications such as New Realities: Being Syncretic (Springer, Vienna/NYC, 2009) and Technoetic Arts (Intellect, London, 2006). Weiss’ works are included in public and private collections worldwide, including Albertina Museum, Vienna; Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation/CIFO, Miami; Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY; Museum of Women in the Arts, Bonn, Germany; CCA Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw, Poland; and Dimas de Melo Pimenta’s collection, Locarno, Switzerland.
An important part of the artist works are public projects, which are ephemeral and site-specific environments. Commissioned by The Drawing Center, her Drawing Lethe (2006) took place at the World Financial Center Winter Garden within sight of Ground Zero, where workers were still searching for remains. Passersby lay down and marked their presence onto the enormous canvas covering the floor, which gradually became a drawing-field. In Shrouds-Całuny (2012), Weiss filmed, from an airplane, local women performing silent gestures of lamentation on the abandoned, forgotten site of the former concentration camp Gruenberg, located in Zielona Góra.
Born in Warsaw, Poland, the artist arrived to NYC in 2001 as a long term resident at the Experimental Intermedia Foundation (EI) directed by filmmaker and sound artist Phill Niblock. In 2007-2008 she has been part of Planetary Collegium research group in UK, directed by theorist and artist, Roy Ascott. She is currently part of Hyphen Hub, New York, a global community of artists and curators working at the intersection of art and technology. Her work is represented by Monika Fabijanska Projects, New York, Galerie Samuel Lallouz, Montreal, and Bruno David Gallery, St. Louis. The artist has been awarded numerous grants and residency fellowships, including NYFA (2009) and YADDO (2005 and 2009), among others. Since 2011 the artist divides her time between New York and Washington University in St. Louis, where she is currently Associate Professor in Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.