Artist Wreaks Havoc and Destruction Using Torn Paper

Polish Artist Piotr Uklanski's lesser known art.

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26 November 2015, 2:15pm

Untitled (Ivy Mike), 2010, Gouache on lanaquarelle paper collage, torn and pasted on plywood, 85 ½ x 120 1/2 in (217.5 x 306 cm). Images courtesy the Nahmad Contemporary Gallery.

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:

Untitled (Castle Romeo), 2015, Gouache on lanaquarelle paper collage, torn and pasted on plywood, 82 ½ x 114 ½ in (210 x 290 cm)

Untitled (The Day After), 2004, Gouache on Lanaquarelle paper collage, torn and pasted on wood 60 x 98 in (152.5 x 249 cm)

Untitled (Lightning Bolt), 2003, Gouache on lanaquarelle paper collage, torn and pasted on plywood, 103 x 74 in (261.5 x 187.5 cm)

Untitled (Rocket's Glare, Over Najaf), 2004 Gouache on lanaquarelle paper collage, torn and pasted on plywood, 42 x 97 ½ in (106.5 x 247.5 cm)

Untitled (Storm Rider), 2015, Gouache on lanaquarelle paper collage, torn and pasted on plywood, 91 ½ x 63 ½ in (232.5 x 161.5 cm)

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.

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