This is the first major monograph on the work of one of Britain’s most dynamic artists, Wolfe von Lenkiewicz. His striking paintings and drawings mine the hallowed halls of art history and popular culture in search of visual languages, imagery, themes and motifs that he can appropriate, adapt, use and abuse, bringing together different movements, genres, periods and styles in dialogues that are surprising, innovative, challenging and sometimes provocative.
Lenkiewicz’s imagination and energy seem to be inexhaustible, concocting endless amazing hybrids such as iconic Renaissance paintings invaded by characters from nineteenth-century Japanese woodblocks, French Revolutionary masterpieces spliced with German Romanticism and the sublime, or Cubism infiltrated by Victorian children’s illustration. The result is a peculiar and fantastical cast of characters and scenarios, whether Nazi soldiers trampling through the snow towards a crashed UFO in the middle of a village scene by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Snow White making an uncomfortable guest appearance in an already troubling Balthus interior, or a
guillotined head assuming a cameo role in an otherwise serene still life.
These painterly chimera are cultural mash-ups. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes witty, other times simply beautiful, odd and arresting amalgams, they are always poignant, pertinent and decidedly thought-provoking, inviting the viewer to think across time, cultures, countries and ideologies about the many languages of art.
In the process, Lenkiewicz has established his own distinctive oeuvre, one that perhaps perfectly illustrates the notion of post-modernity within painting – an oeuvre of juxtapositions and non-sequiturs, semantics and semiotics, binary oppositions and the uncanny, pastiche and deconstruction, ruptures and elisions, the real and the irrational. As well as encouraging us to look at works from the history of art with fresh eyes, Lenkiewicz’s practice demands that we think about visual culture today, raising questions about how our understanding of the past and the present rests on shifting sands.
With an introduction by distinguished art critic Edward Lucie-Smith and a major new essay by writer and editor Richard Dyer, this beautifully designed and produced clothbound hardback book presents an impressive selection of works produced by the artist between 2009 and 2015.
Texts by Edward Lucie-Smith and Richard Dyer
236pp + 4pp covers, Hardback, 320 × 268 mm, c. 150 colour and b/w images
RRP: £45 / €60 / $70
UK release date: 21 January 2016
Designed by Peter B. Willberg with James Sutton
Edited by Mark Sanders
Published by Anomie Publishing, UK