Uklański has formed his approach to painting without a brush, oil, and canvas. He uses everything and weaves it into everything else. The esoteric becomes magic, the erotic becomes pornographic, from violence to chance, from nothing to everything, he always finds a way to create another space. Using studios and theaters, magazines and canvases, pottery and weaving, pencil shavings and ink droppings, he creates his unique pictorial language. Uklański is the inventor of "resuscitative painting," which is the opposite of "action painting." His canvases are both targets and garbage bags for all the pictorial vernaculars he resurrects. - Francesco Bonami
Gagosian Geneva is pleased to announce an exhibition by Piotr Uklański.
The exhibition centerpiece is Untitled (Scuff Marks) (1995), a floor work that Uklański exhibited that year at the artist-run Cubitt Gallery in London and which has not been exhibited since. Surrounding this important early gestural work are recent works from the ceramic mosaic paintings and pencil shavings series--primary examples of Uklański's "meta-painting" practice. Created one year before the renowned Untitled (Dance Floor) (1996), Untitled (Scuff Marks) (1995) underscores Uklański's critical interest in sculpture and painting in the expanded field, the foundation for his current studio practice. Uklański went on to make diverse floor works, including Untitled (Wet Floor) (2001) and Untitled (Permanent Floor) (2003).
In lieu of conventional art materials, Uklański creates "paintings" from torn paper and household wares, as well as ceramic, macramé, and other natural media. Sculptural reliefs quote from early abstract painting: each wall-mounted work is made up of multiple ceramic components, from sculptures by other artists to classic examples of modernist studio pottery and mass-produced tableware, some of which employ recognizable volcanic glazes as painterly tropes. Relishing the equivalences between common matter and fine art, Uklański creates color fields out of pencil shavings, while the abrasions of Untitled (Scuff Marks) evoke gestural patterns on the gallery floor. Undermining perceived aesthetic hierarchies, Uklański continues to play upon visual and conceptual paradigms in modernist art.
Piotr Uklański was born in 1968 in Warsaw, Poland, and lives and works in Warsaw and New York. His work has been collected and exhibited by museums worldwide, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Britain, London; Francois Pinault Foundation, Venice; and Kunsthalle Basel. In 2006, Uklański debuted his first feature-length film, Summer Love: The First Polish Western. Recent museum exhibitions include "Piotr Uklański: A Retrospective," Wiener Secession, Vienna (2007); "The Joy of Photography," Musée d'art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg (2007-08); "Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection," Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2009-11); "2010: Whitney Biennial" (2010); and "Piotr Uklański: Forty and Four," Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2012-13).
All images: "Piotr Uklański: Floored", Installation view. Photo by Annik Wetter © 2013 Piotr Uklański. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery