Wilhelm Sasnal

by Thursday, December 6, 2012

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.

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 Dominika, painted in greyscale, has the allure of outdated photography suggestive of distinctively Eastern European chic.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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