Since the start of his career in the mid nineties, Polish artist Piotr Uklański’s willingness to take on potentially controversial subjects garnered him notoriety in the art world, and today he's known for working with an exceptionally wide variety of mediums. Having just come off a photography show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this year, the prolific artist decided to showcase a survey of rarely-seen works from his torn paper collage series. Spanning the past 15 years, Piotr Uklański: Collages was displayed at the Nahmad Contemporary in Manhattan from September 22nd until October 28th.
As with his ink drop paintings, Uklański employs a meticulous technique for his collages, transforming a hands-on low craft tradition into a dynamic and aesthetically complex exercise. He leaves space between the torn edges of two sheets of paper to create white lines that help outline his images and frame the subjects of his paintings. The works that appeared at the Nahmad Gallery portray hued open landscapes, lightning storms, mushroom clouds, and other imagery alluding to war and environmental disaster. The images are constructed using gouache on torn and pasted lanaquarelle paper affixed to plywood. Of the artist, Francesco Bonami, writes, “His canvases are both targets and garbage bags for the all the pictorial vernaculars he resurrects… What was originally a sleepy, rural, arts and crafts movement, transformed through Uklański’s vision and turned into a charged, subversive, and highly sexual attack on the definition of painting.”
Check out some of Piotr Uklański’s collages below:
Uklański’s large-scale collage series, was on display at the Nahmad Contemporary from September 22nd until October 28th, and remains a lesser-known fragment of the artist’s broad oeuvre. For a look at some of his other works click, here.