•  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Current Exhibition

EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

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Wilhelm Sasnal
Soldiers

2000

Oil on canvas

175 x 175 cm
Sasnal’s soldiers are reduced to a kitsch logo: war, oppression, and authority are reconstituted as youth culture communismo-chic. Rendered as pure pop, Soldiers wittingly adopts an amoral capitalist ethic, where authoritarianism and violence are reconstituted as retro cool. Sasnal’s paintings don’t celebrate freedom, but rather a shift in media-dictated conformity.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Airplanes

2001

Oil on Canvas

150 x 300cm
Wilhelm Sasnal approaches painting as a formal exercise. He often borrows subjects from art history, 20th century propaganda, and photojournalism. Airplanes is a dark appropriation of Alighiero Boetti’s famous airplane drawings. Subverting the original pastoral optimism, Wilhelm Sasnal’s planes are engulfed in smoke as if they’ve been hit by enemy fire.

Wilhelm Sasnal deconstructs the hierarchy of ’high culture’ by filtering it through mass-media association. Through painting, Sasnal explores his own interpretation and understanding of imagery. His work constantly questions the space between ‘personal’ and ‘public’, and strives to define individual experience within a world order of collective consciousness.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Girl Smoking (Peaches)

2001

Oil on Canvas

33 x 33cm
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Girl Smoking (Dominika)

2001

Oil on Canvas

33 x 33cm
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Girl Smoking (Anka)

2001

Oil on Canvas

45 x 50cm
Wilhelm Sasnal’s portraits of women explore modern concepts of beauty and representation. The pop star Peaches is given a degenerate Warhol glam; Anka, the alabaster sophistication of Katz. Dominika, painted in greyscale, has the allure of outdated photography suggestive of distinctively Eastern European chic.

Wilhelm Sasnal approaches feminine idealism as a construct of fashion. It’s not the physicality of the women themselves, but rather the style with which they’re represented. Each rendered in a manner associated with a specific time and place, Wilhelm Sasnal’s portraits aren’t classical icons, but models defined by their own sell-by dates. All pictured smoking a cigarette, Sasnal alludes to the slow self-destruction of their beauty.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Factory

2000

Oil on Canvas

101 x 101cm
Painted from a famous propaganda image, Wilhelm Sasnal’s Factory swaps the celebratory ideal of the Socialist Worker for the impersonal hardness of mechanised production. Sasnal treats painting as a reductive process: information is lost in translation from photography to painting.

Using the original photo’s black-and-white tones, details are eradicated through heightened contrast, the image simplified through ‘overexposure’ and the intervention of the artist’s hand. Wilhelm Sasnal’s replicated images are dissociated from their once powerful meanings: they exist only as mere vestiges of themselves.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Man at the Control Panel

2000

Oil on Canvas

180 x 160cm
Man at the Control Panel has the design of a government-issue poster. Through the act of painting, Wilhelm Sasnal divests this once authoritative image of any sense of infused power. It becomes merely an advertisement for banality, an explicit logo of its own defunct politics.

Through the personal intervention of making, Wilhelm Sasnal promotes a democratisation of image ownership. Through painting all things are rendered equal.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Portrait of Rodchenko, Lady

2002

Oil on Canvas

30 x 30cm
For Wilhelm Sasnal, painting is imperative as a means to challenge traditional expectations of representation and perception. Through the personal intervention of making, his subject matter becomes distorted. Images are pared down to their barest essentials and estranged from their original context and meaning.

Portrait of Rodchenko, Lady resurrects the photographer’s iconic image. Gone is her golden Soviet virtue, replaced by a fiercely dark shadow. Wilhelm Sasnal’s reconstruction is a hollow memento, a death mask of a graven image.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Car

2002

Oil on Canvas

181 x 181cm
Flirting with the future, Wilhelm Sasnal’s space-age car is an unnervingly anthropomorphic vehicle promising a super determinism of technological prowess. Looming just beyond imagination, Car retains all its untold visual mystery; only a suggestive glimpse fits the canvas. It is not what the viewer sees that is important, but the disconcerting Orwellian sense that Car is looking back.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Portrait

2001

Oil on Canvas

50 x 73cm
Wilhelm Sasnal’s green lady is marbled perfection: a towering sculptural goddess executed as an anonymous product of design. Cropped, chin jutting out: her once symbolic mysticism now holds only graphic optimism, a pleasant hallmark of simplified form and bright colours. Wilhelm Sasnal repackages ideology for an indiscriminate consumer culture. Painting becomes a ritual of purification through aesthetics, which can sell even the most frightening of concepts.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Terrorist Equipment

2000

Oil on Canvas

63 x 80 cm
Sasnal draws his subject matter from day-to-day reality. The most banal examples of still life mingle with commensurate importance to propaganda icons, advertising, and photojournalistic imagery.

An ambiguous Tuymans-like rendering of a suicide bomber’s belt/parachute/life jacket is painted with the impartiality of an instruction-manual illustration. Terrorist Equipment is dissociated from any political meaning, rendered inconsequential in the cold vernacular of documentation.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Gym Lesson

2000

Oil on Canvas

150 x 150cm
Gym Lesson offers a colourless documentation of children at play, reminiscent of Soviet social painting stripped of all joyous idealism. Emptying the image of vivacious allure, Sasnal’s painting operates as palimpsest: through its impartial and sterile surface, only faint traces of historical significance remain.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Landscape

2001

Oil on Canvas

36 x 40cm
In Landscape, a row of Eastern European houses is half obliterated by a smoke bomb. In an image reminiscent of news clippings, Sasnal impersonalises the violence until it becomes nothing more than a perfect cloud. Dehumanised to the point of abstraction, Sasnal reduces horror to a mere formalist problem: a structural composition of terror; a self-absorbed contemplation of the sublime.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Arms Raised

2001

Oil on Canvas

33 x 36cm
Through rich and incongruous application techniques, Sasnal uses the paint itself to expose the paradoxical qualities of image interpretation. In Arms Raised, he subverts the documentary ‘truth’ of photography. Rendered in negative, his image of a champion becomes a hostage and heroicism is shrouded in a demonic aura. Sasnal exposes cultural triumph as conspiracy, inherently underscored with apocalyptic sensations of revulsion and fear.
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Resort

1999

Oil on Canvas

89 x 89 cm
Sasnal presents the usual vacation ideals of sun, booze, and sex through a voyeuristic binocular view. Under surveillance scrutiny, the luxury resort emerges as something lonely, corrupt, and comically sad. Painted with a knowing faux naïveté, Resort is offered to all as an international logo/pictograph, loaded with overtures of condescension and imperialism.

OTHER RESOURCES

artfacts.net
Additional information about Wilhelm Sasnal

the-artists.org
Additional information about Wilhelm Sasnal and his work

divus.cz
Wilhelm Sasnal
Camden Arts Centre, London
25 June to 22 August 2004

sadiecoles.com
In his first show, the Polish artist Wilhelm Sasnal presents a group of new paintings.

polishculture-nyc.org
Wilhelm Sasnal, the most successful younger Polish painter today and internationally regarded as one of the most important contemporary artists of younger generation.

looksmartcollege.com
Wilhelm Sasnal: Kunsthalle Zurich, ArtForum.

wams.de
Wilhelm Sasnal ist der polnische Roy Lichtenstein

muhka.be
Wilhelm Sasnal (°1972, Tarnow, Polen) wordt één van de leidende figuren van de jongste generatie Poolse schilders genoemd.

radio.com.pl
Wilhelm Sasnal - malarz wspolczesny, czyli o pieknie komputerowej dyskietki.

westfaelischer-kunstverein.de
Wilhelm Sasnal (*1972) begreift seine Umwelt durch das Medium der Malerei.