MSc landscape architecture 1983, member of the National Association of Landscape Architects(LAR, MSA), member of the Swedish Artists' National Organization(KRO), member of the Swedish National Council for Architecture, Form and Design(RAFD)
Awards: 1999, Town Architecture Prize of Landskrona, for the plaza in front of the library in Landskrona; 1993, Award from Swedish Concrete Industry, for landscaping at the head office of Malmö Energi; 1988, Award from Swedish Stone Industry, for Ormet, a grotto in Kungsparken, Malmö
Monika, born in 1959, has been working as a landscape architect and artist with her own office, GORA art&landscape, since 1989. She holds a master’s degree in landscaping from the Swedish University of Agriculture. Before starting her own office Monika Gora made prolonged travels of work and study in Australia, China, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA. She is a member of the Swedish National Council for Architecture, Form and Design. In her practice she has systematically chosen her own paths – both experimenting and challenging – combining this with an ability to find practicable solutions.
Among Gora’s internationally acclaimed projects, The glass bubble, finished in 2006, combines several aspects of her work.
”…this has become a highlight in new Swedish architecture (and art) that I can not resist. Smartly surprising, with the simple shape of an almond (or a discus), and minimalist reserve.”
Architectural critic Peder Alton in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, 26th March 2006
The glass bubble was designed as a solution both to architectural dilemmas and to problems of landscaping. The space inside makes it possible to use this extremely exposed and windy place all year. The glass structure reflects light into the courtyard and protects it from the sea, without closing it visually. Conceptually The glass bubble is a juxtaposition of climates and floras in a place of artifice, on reclaimed land overlooking the Öresund straits between Sweden and Denmark. It welds together a multitude of inputs with simplicity and clarity.
Monika Gora often works with these seamless combinations of landscape architecture, public art and building. In her 2 piers from 2004, at Sidensjö in the north of Sweden, Gora has designed a place that underlines the beauty of the nearby lake. Simultaneously the piers leading into thin air create a sense of adventure right where they are. Initially 2 piers met a lot of local controversy. Today it is very much accepted and used. It makes place, and creates a sense of public space in a sparsely-populated area. Metamorfos in the city of Linköping, from 2005, is a generous public sculpture that is in itself a landscape for the public to conquer. At the same time it is a play with reflections from the sky and the surrounding park.
In addition to permanent works, temporary contributions to existing environments occupy a central position in Monika Gora’s oeuvre; often indexical projects of temporary transformation – such as Rain fountain from 1996, continuous rain for three weeks, a local change in climate in an urban space – and interventions to environments that are threatened by monotonous routine or by being too familiar.
Some of her pieces have contained provocative elements – Rain fountain was met with both love and hate – but they always actively contribute to the production of new meanings, spaces and memories. In the winter of 1998, Gora temporarily transformed an almost too familiar space in the heart of Stockholm with A drop of light, a monumental balloon filled with artificial sunlight lying in front of the parliament building.
Parallel to working on permanent or temporary transformations of the environment, Monika Gora has been using exhibitions as a medium for multi-disciplinary expression and inquiry, both in solo and group shows such as The Good Life: New Public Spaces for Recreation (Van Alen Institute, NYC, USA 2006), Acclimatisations (Chaumont-sur-Loire, France 1994) and Monika Gora (Skissernas Museum, Lund, Sweden 1989). The different branches of Gora’s activities continuously cross-breed and serve each other. The sculpture group Jimmys was first shown at a solo exhibition in 1997, and has since become a much appreciated permanent feature in many public spaces in Sweden and abroad, combining light and colour with a characteristic invitation to play.