Wednesday, August 26, 2009

chronicling change

Wilhelm Sasnal
Krakow, 2007
oil on canvas
40 x 40 cm

at the K21 Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Germany

Here's a guy I'd noticed recently for his style of painting elsewhere. Thought this image was Luc Tuymans at first - the casual insipidness - but see that it makes sense as Sasnal. I love it, and it comes as no surprise that, according to the press release...

He "conceives of the painted image as reflecting themes and aspects of the present moment...... he rebelled against Krakow's academic tradition... his artistic activities are conditioned by an awareness that by virtue of the retarding effects of the Communist period in his country, he himself is a witness to a still unconcluded postwar era..."

Interesting for him to be aware of this - "a consciousness that forms the subtle substrate of many images"

His paintings are mostly based on photographs, and the "presentation is configured freely around the classical themes of portrait, landscape, still life, genre, and history painting, thereby exploring the larger historical context of the art of Wilhelm Sasnal".

History in the making. History acute enough and different enough to be noticed maybe? Luckily, Sasnal's is an academic debate, a contemplative reflection on dark days of strife.

What of the same considerations in America? I'm not feeling so positive after seeing the disinformation and hate, the polarization of opinions and the lack of openness stirred up by the current health reform debate. (Debate!?? Debate involves sensible discussion, not calling everyone jerks!) We thought the election was hard won! My instinct is to go for the positive... but based on the opinions put forward in this last year I wonder, could the largest, richest country in the world have an even bleaker, more backward and more malnourished culture than we can currently comprehend?