Wilhelm Sasnal Years of Struggle

27.11.2007 – 02.03.2008 Wilhelm Sasnal Years of Struggle

Zachęta National Gallery of Art

curator: Maria Brewińska

Wilhelm Sasnal’s are paintings are situated between a striving to explore reality and the need to interpret its various, often not popular contexts. They concentrate on the techniques of painting and through this also investigates the physiology of vision. They show from what elements a painting emerges, and in what conditions begins the process of seeing and the particular process of ‘becoming’ a painting. This process coincides with a further element that is just as important in the artist’s work: his highly original iconography (photographs, films, comics, music) that cause the world presented in his works to undergo a fragmentation into single events from the field of personal experiences or on the contrary of significant contexts from a “common history” or the space of a society in a particular place and time.                               

At the exhibition in Zachęta will be shown paintings from the last few years, loaned from the artist’s studio and from collections in Poland and abroad. Their themes demonstrate the major contexts of Sasnal’s work, such as the merging of pre-war modernism with autobiographic elements (the series Mościce 2005), years of struggle and war (the series Partisans 2005), the holocaust (the series of paintings Maus, 2001, made on the basis of Art Spiegelman’s comic; Shoah, 2003 inspired by Claude Lanzmann’s film and paintings inspired by the prose of Tadeusz Borowski), and the various contexts of post-war life from the time of the Polish People’s Republic and most recent history depicted from a personal perspective. In the series of modernist churches from Tarnów, the series Wyszyński (2005), or the portraits of priests (2006), Sasnal portrays the symbolic elements of contemporary Poland that currently dominate reality. At the exhibition will also be presented numerous portraits and “music paintings” emerging from his fascination with music and a striving towards the visual recording of its duration, amongst others paintings on T-Shirts, portraits of musicians or the recording of the traces of dance. The exhibition will also present Sasnal’s films Kodachrome (2006) and Concorde (2003) about the withdrawal of the cult film or the cult plane, Love Songs (2005) and Europa (2007) inspired by image and music, Spring (2006) and Brasil (2005) – chance documentation of confrontation with the police.       

Wilhelm Sasnal was born in 1972 in Tarnów. From 1992–1994, he studied architecture at the Cracow Technical University, and then from 1994–1999 painting at the same city’s Academy of the Fine Arts; he was a co-founder of the no longer in existence Group Ładny (1995–2001). He is linked to the Foksal Gallery Foundation. He lives and works in Cracow. The artist has participated in many individual and group exhibitions, including: MUHKA in Antwerp, Kunsthalle Zürich, Westfalischer Kunstverein in Münster, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, Kunsthalle Basel, Sadie Coles HQ, London, Anton Kern, New York, Hauser&Wirth Gallery, Zurich; his works are to be found amongst others in: the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Tate Modern, Saatchi Gallery in London, van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw, Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art. In 2006 Wilhelm Sasnal received the Vincent van Gogh Award, of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.   

Artist's works in the Zachęta collection

  • Zdjęcie pracy Portret Erykah Badu
    Portret Erykah BaduWilhelm Sasnal2004
  • Zdjęcie pracy Kraków - Warszawa
    Kraków - WarszawaWilhelm Sasnal2006
  • Zdjęcie pracy Kacper
    KacperWilhelm Sasnal2004
  • Zdjęcie pracy Bez tytułu, cykl rysunków
    Bez tytułu, cykl rysunkówWilhelm Sasnal2004
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Wilhelm Sasnal
Years of Struggle
27.11.2007 – 02.03.2008

Zachęta National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Exhibition supported by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
main sponsor of the exhibition: Efect
sponsor of the exhibition: Mercedes-Benz
sponsors of the gallery: Epson, Netia, Klima San
sponsors of the opening ceremony: Blikle, Freixenet
partner of the children’s programme Bank Zachodni WBK
official carrier PLL LOT
media patronage: Gazeta Wyborcza, Polityka, TVP, TOK FM, The Warsaw Voice, Onet.pl, AMS, Warsaw Point, empik