Daniel Lergon, Maciej Olekszy. Flow

The exhibition Daniel Lergon, Maciej Olekszy. Flow will be the first show featuring the works of these established painters at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. Both Lergon, who hails from Berlin, and Olekszy, a native of Poznań, are at a specific juncture in their creative paths, wherein their artistic careers have seen a crystallisation following years of stylistic and technical exploration, which are indeed closely connected with one another. We can state all this differently – in the case of Lergon and Olekszy, their explorations venture into the inner world, the boundary points of which have been recognised, wherein the direction of their searching is pointed inward rather than outward.

INFO

Place

ms1, 43 Gdańska St.

Time

28.02-23.06.2024

opening

February 28, 2024 (wednesday), at 6:00 PM

opening hours

Monday: closed
Tuesday: 9.00 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Wednesday - Sunday: 12.00 a.m. - 6.30 p.m.

curator

Milena Romanowska

exhibition coordination

Martyna Dec

editorial coordination

Matylda Makowska

The common ground between the oeuvres of both artists is their focus on the specificity and properties of the painterly medium itself, with a particular emphasis placed on its materiality. Their painterly approaches cannot be fully defined using terms referring only to a sense of sight, because properties associated with touch are also important here; and in this respect, concepts such as density, fluidity or structurality seem necessary for the language of analysis. In the artistic practice of each, the creative process plays a key role, the material trace of which remains with the viewer. For Olekszy, the act of painting is important in the context of his expression and automation of gesture. Whilst Lergon, with his experimental temperament, treats painting like a field for exploring the interaction of media with substrata.

The exhibition in MS1 consists mainly of works from recent times. Daniel Lergon’s On Earth series dates to 2022–2023, whereas Maciej Olekszy’s the Heads and Nudes span the years 2019–2023.

Daniel Lergon’s work is characterised by a foundational research focused on an analysis of visual phenomena created through the interaction of media with appropriately prepared substrata. In other words, the Berlin painter, by making recourse to a considered selection of both “non-painting” materials and painting pigments, aims to induce light and colour, additionally determined by the type of base he chooses to use. The presentation of his paintings at the Muzeum Sztuki consists essentially of two parts - the first, featuring several paintings from the earlier, monochromatic series, and the second, showing works from his most recent On Earth series.

The first part represents an introduction to the painterly world of the Berlin artist, briefly showing its evolution - from a painting from the Reflective series, created on a reflective fabric surface with the use of colourless varnish, to works from the Green on White and Red on White series. The effects of an extensive scale of values and an expressive texture were achieved in these paintings by varying both the density of the applied pigment and the luminosity of the canvas, which shines through from under the layer of paint, being a phthalo green or alizarin red. While in the Reflective series, the painter examines the dynamics of luminary effects in terms of the directions of light reflection and refraction, in the Metal series he focuses on bringing out the materiality of lustreless surfaces created from chemical transformations.

In the context of the Berlin artist’s earlier experiments with “non-painting” materials, the On Earth series is distinguished by the choice of a traditional medium, that being oil paint. Lergon also abandons a uniform colour scale in favour of contrasting chromatic combinations. However, the painterly approach taken by Lergon would probably not have been possible without previous years of experience with using a variety of materials and substrates; and with his making recourse to chemical processes in order to produce colouristic or chiaroscuro effects.

In the new series, the brightness of the white clearcole, shining through from under the transparent coating, meets the matte, light-absorbing surfaces of pigments such as green earth or natural umber. Saturated colours of yellow, purple or phthalo blue, distributed with scumble on the surface of the canvas, serve as a counterpoint to the lustreless tones associated with nature and matter.

As with earlier series, in On Earth the most important aspect is interaction, which is what happens at the meeting-point of different interfaces. Here Lergon selects pigments with certain physical properties, as well as selecting the procedure and sequence of their application in order to create compositions that possess a complex texture that offers unpredictable results; giving rise as they do to contrastive surfaces that boast intense colour tones and planes with a matte and muted aspect. Assumed non-figurativity and a focus on the specificity of painting as a medium bring Lergon’s work closer to what could be described as a modernist purity, and align it with the elimination of narrative functions as postulated by Clement Greenberg. However, such an interpretation would not take into account the artist’s interest in the nature of perception, the physical processes and the phenomenon of light. The fact that the field space is restricted by the shape of the canvas means that the artist subjects materials and pigments to transformations, which, in turn, evoke material transformations from the distant histories of Earth.

In the context of classic painting genres, Maciej Olekszy’s work could be considered a contemporary interpretation of the motifs of nude painting and portrait. While his painting is figurative, it is so in a very specific way; wherein the phenomena of the visible world are only the starting points for a process of synthesis, and wherein the reduction of shapes leads to the limits of abstraction; and wherein the trajectory of a composition is determined by the kinetics of gesture and intuition. The artist regards these notions as being as key tools in the creative process, which he describes as follows: “[...] perhaps this is the real theme of my work - existing in the very act of painting, where the final aesthetic effect is of secondary importance. […]” Recognizing emotions as a priori places this creativity firmly with the mainstream of artistic expression. Olekszy sees in his painting an ideological convergence with the art of Poznań’s “Rebellion” Expressionists (1917-1925), who believed that the creative act allows one to find the spiritual essence of a thing, and that the artist acts as a kind of transmitter thanks to which this essence receives its visual form. In many ways, Maciej Olekszy shares this approach and outlook. For him, an important source of the creative act is the observation of those people being depicted - loved ones, whose images become visual variations on emotional relationships.

Regardless of their expressionist origins, Olekszy’s Heads and Nudes are characterised by their visual intensity, wherein the oil medium is treated loosely as a liquid coating, covering large areas of the canvas, and thickened where the artist wants to highlight an anatomical detail, or to mark a connecting point of overlapping shapes. This freedom of gesture translates into a synthesis of shapes inspired by the observation of nature, which in turn gives an impression of the elusiveness of the created images. Their open form is each time the record of a painterly act, defined by the passage of time and emotional intensity. Hence, Olekszy’s series of portraits and nudes can probably be understood as an intimate visual diary.

Milena Romanowska

 

Media patronage

 

 

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51.7718438, 19.4482831

INFO

Place

ms1, 43 Gdańska St.

Time

28.02-23.06.2024

opening

February 28, 2024 (wednesday), at 6:00 PM

opening hours

Monday: closed
Tuesday: 9.00 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Wednesday - Sunday: 12.00 a.m. - 6.30 p.m.

curator

Milena Romanowska

exhibition coordination

Martyna Dec

editorial coordination

Matylda Makowska

Podziel się informacją