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London: DE. FI. CIEN. CY

May 21, 2015 - July 11, 2015



21 May – 11 July Drawing Room, London

DE. FI. CIEN. CY examines a shared concern with the failure, or the ‘deficiency’, of pictorial representation. The exhibition includes over 60 works on paper by Polish artist Andrzej Wroblewski (1927-57), Dutch artist René Daniëls (b.1950) and Belgian Luc Tuymans (b.1958). Tuymans will also be making an in situ wall drawing for Drawing Room galleries. In the hands of these artists, ‘deficiency’ becomes a positive agent of artistic achievement.

All three artists have been immensely influential and are counted among the outstanding artists of the 20th century. Their shared preoccupation with the failure of pictorial representation has been triggered by a range of socio, personal and political issues, and this exhibition demonstrates affinities and disparities between the work of the three artists, across generations and cultures. Wróblewski’s work after 1955 is informed by a double trauma, that of Nazi atrocities and of the apparently failed communist model. Tuymans reacts to a rift traversing his own family, one part of which collaborated with the German occupation while the other resisted. He consequently engages in the revision of a poisoned past and instances of ideological systems. Daniëls’s work engages with the 1980s “return to painting” by addressing the institutionalisation and commodification of the art work.

The oeuvres of Daniëls’s and Tuymans’s are distinguished from Wróblewski’s in that they both make the installation of pictures a decisive part of their practice, be it in terms of representation or in terms of the actual implementation of site-specific work. Since the end of the 1990s, Tuymans has produced wall paintings based on earlier paintings or drawings. His wall drawing for Drawing Room departs from this practice and will be based on photographed installation views of his work. This wall drawing will highlight the fact that Tuymans openly appropriates and recycles his own work – not to reflect on it in the sense of further development but to emphasize the missing reference to a basic premise, a clear demonstration of his concept of “authentic forgery”. At the same time, it will highlight the related issue of the faded, “deficient” image that draws the power of its sensuous presence from its impotence.

A 208 page catalogue will be released during the exhibition which illustrates each work (approx. 135 images) and includes text by Ulrich Loock. Co-published with Art Stations Gallery, Stary Browar, Poznań. Research support: Andrzej Wróblewski Foundation.

Andrzej Wróblewski is widely considered the most important Polish artist of the post-war period. He was born in 1927 and started to make independent work in 1948 while still an art student. Ideologically he leaned towards a socialist agenda and refuted contemporary movements in Poland devoted to international modernism. His signature works from that time are a number of paintings evoking an execution that are based on his wartime experiences. In 1950 Wróblewski gave up his previous way of painting and accepted the exigencies of Socialist Realism. After Stalin’s death and in the context of the “thaw” in Poland, deeply disappointed by the apparent failure of the communist model, he abandoned the Socialist-Realist doctrine in 1955 and reconnected to his 1948/49 work.

Luc Tuymans was born in 1958 and grew up in Antwerp where he still lives. The first paintings that he acknowledges are from 1975, before he started art school in 1976. His early work is informed by a rift traversing his own family, one part of which collaborated with the German occupation while the other part resisted. Pictures have referred to places of Nazi atrocities and evoked their reign of terror, but also exposed more generic scenes of rootlessness and loss. In later series of works, Tuymans addressed different ideological systems such as colonialism, nationalism or religious belief, but also the empty places of the missing picture.

René Daniëls, born in 1950, is a Dutch artist who started his career in the 1980s in the broader context of the international “return to painting”. While his initial works were loosely painted and had a narrative and anecdotal inclination, he changed his approach in 1984 and developed in a more subdued painterly manner the shape of an abstracted exhibition room with proxy paintings on display. This shape became the basic figure of his works for the next two or three years. It underwent repeated mutations and became part of different constellations until it finally turned into a disposable element of the non-referential construction of a pictorial context.

DE. FI. CIEN. CY was first presented at Art Stations Gallery, Stary Browar, Poznań, Poland, 28 November 2014 to 28 February 2015.

 For more information about the gallery please visist: 

Supported by The Polish Cultural Institute in London


May 21, 2015
July 11, 2015
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