At the heart of Delirious Picasso is British artist Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, with his debut exhibition in New York City. In his latest series of oil paintings, von Lenkiewicz juxtaposes Picasso’s oeuvre with ukiyo-e, a Japanese genre of woodblock prints and paintings, to explore the harmony between Eastern and Western artistic traditions. Synthesizing restraint and grandeur, the artist combines flat perspective with sumptuous colour and use of pattern as exemplified in ukiyo-e. He reinterprets the work of both the 19th-century Japanese painter Kikugawa Eizan and Picasso, taking particular inspiration from the spontaneity and vitality of the latter.
Von Lenkiewicz’s presentation comprises two distinct series of works entitled The Guards of the Void and The Giants. The grand reconfigured paintings combine Picasso motifs with courtesan and samurai figures to form a potent new visual language. This provocative iconoclastic act liberates the borrowed paintings from their cultural mythos, reinvigorating the icons into bold enigmatic prototypes. Von Lenkiewicz’s deft handling of these seemingly disparate aesthetics form an arresting series of paintings that, in dialogue with the works of Picasso, demonstrate the reconcilable nature of Eastern and Western artistic practices.
Wolfe von Lenkiewicz (b.1966) is based in London. He graduated from the University of York with a degree in Philosophy, specializing in Contemporary Epistemology, which has influenced and guided the conceptual side of his practice. Von Lenkiewicz’s chief artistic concern is our use of language and its re-interpretation in the form of visual art. He is known for his reconfigurations of iconic imageries from visual culture. Through controversial interventions, his ambiguous compositions illustrate our own complacency towards famous images, and raise critical questions about those canonic works of art.
Von Lenkiewicz has exhibited at the Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille, Me Collectors Room (Berlin), La Maison Rouge (Paris), and is currently showing at the Deichtorhallen Museum (Hamburg) in Picasso in Contemporary Art, a largescale group exhibition featuring more than 90 artists referencing Picasso in their work. His work is featured in numerous international collections.