WOLFE VON LENKIEWICZ: ALGEBRA: THE REUNION OF BROKEN PARTS
15 – 25 OCTOBER 2014
HOUSE OF THE NOBLEMAN
9 GROSVENOR PLACE LONDON SW1X 7SH
15 – 18 OCTOBER 12 PM – 12 MIDNIGHT 19 – 25 OCTOBER 12 – 9 PM
House of the Nobleman is delighted to announce that it will be presenting a solo exhibition of the work of contemporary British artist Wolfe von Lenkiewicz at 9 Grosvenor Place, to be open during Frieze week from 15th to 25th October, 2014.
The art of Wolfe von Lenkiewicz may be understood as a solemn exercise in algebra. Writing in the 11th century, the Islamic polymath Omar Khayyam described the process of algebra as ‘the reunion of broken parts’, and it is this conception of mathematics that most closely reflects the artist’s painting practice.
An algebraic equation makes use of the abstractions of ‘x’ and ‘y’ to signify the variables of a formula. In the practice of Wolfe von Lenkiewicz the icons of Art History replace the formula, and his works seek out the visual or latent motifs that might take the place of ‘x’ and ‘y’.
Just as 8 can be factored into 1 x 8 or 2 x 4, so can a more complicated idea like the work of Leonardo da Vinci be broken down into numerous possible equations, such as the influence of his master Verrocchio multiplied by the symmetry of Piero della Francesca, as well as the influence of the Catholic church, scientific discoveries and a myriad of other potential variables that have each contributed to the final whole.
The factor is an equivalent of the original, an ‘un-multiplied’ version of the number. Lenkiewicz is exploring the notion that it is possible to un-multiply an artwork, to whittle an aesthetic object down to its essential prime numbers.
This suggests that a mathematical logic underlies all human creation, and com- prises a sincere philosophical investigation on the part of the artist. Particularly relevant are the works of Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell in the 19th and ear- ly 20th centuries, as well as the developments made in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logic Philisophicus and later works.
The question, then, becomes what it is that might constitute the ‘prime number’ of an artwork. For Wittgenstein, the proposition is that the prime foundation of a language is that which can only be shown, in and of itself, without the potential for further description. Lenkiewicz has applied this idea to the sphere of art. Ultimately, however, the factor tree for an artwork is endless, with countless possible combinations of factors producing ever-new equations. The exhibition ‘Algebra’ outlines a few of the possible combinations.
The age of the Renaissance has been chosen as a platform for experimentation because it too was attempting to ground the making of art in a mathematical a and aesthetically programmable formula. Lenkiewicz has rendered his works with a careful craftsmanship that seeks to replicate the original conditions and painting practices of artists in the Renaissance.
With this in mind, the works that result are, in a sense, works that could have been made in the 16th century, formulas that are made up of the same factors. In this way the way the work of Wolfe von Lenkiewicz questions the notions of resolution and finish, while maintaining the utmost respect for the work of his forebears.