Wolfe von Lenkiewicz Riflemaker, June 2014


JUN 3 – JUL 31 2014

Riflemaker is pleased to present the debut exhibition at the gallery by WOLFE VON LENKIEWICZ.

Wolfe von Lenkiewicz is a British-born artist of German-Polish-Jewish descent whose paintings use imagery from classical art as well as ideas from contemporary life. Born into a dynasty of painters, his great-grandfather was Baron von Schlossberg, court painter to King Ludwig II of Bavaria, his father was the British painter Robert Lenkiewicz.

Lenkiewicz (b.1966) graduated from the University of York with a degree in Philosophy, specialising in Contemporary Epistemology (the philosophical study of the nature, limits and grounds of knowledge) which has influenced and guided the conceptual side of his work as an artist. He is known for his immaculately rendered (re)mixing of familiar modes and idioms from art history, creating ambiguous compositions which question accepted critical thought and ideas. His work features in numerous international collections.

The artist’s chief concern is our use of language and its re-interpretation with regard to the visual arts. Lenkiewicz’s disruptions highlight our own complacency toward key components we have come to both accept and rely on. Our knowledge of various artist’s ‘stylistic signatures’ has become so ingrained that we take them for granted. It is not until they are questioned that we realise how much confidence we place in them. Oscillating between painting, drawing and sculpture, the provocative nature of Lenkiewicz’s work demonstrates the infinite possibilities which exist by combining and re-interpreting the images of our time.

In one painting at Riflemaker Lenkiewicz makes interventions into the story of Snow White framing the information inside Mondrian’s familiar ‘grid’. In another, a Picasso-esque late 1960’s ‘Le Roi’/’Cavalier’, Lenkiewicz makes references to Picasso’s contemporaries (Matisse, Rousseau) made by the artist throughout his career as well as Velasquez, Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Bateau Lavoir-era Cubism, double profiles and literary illustration (John Tenniel) – all contributing recognisable aesthetic to this new ‘real thing’. In another series Lenkiewicz creates paintings by the great classical Masters; Chardin, Gericault, which may have once existed, according to various biographical sources, but were unfinished, abandoned or lost.

The history of art can be seen as a series of compromising developments from one movement or style to another. Lenkiewicz operates within the formal structures of drawing and painting. His flawless execution is imbued with a Humanist and Renaissance understanding of iconography, the difference in the freshly made ‘masterwork’ being the contemporary proposition of this new creation.

On this supposition, the artist considers the destruction of ‘classical culture’ under the influence of the trivialisation of the world. The works prove that ‘subculture’ grafts neatly onto even the most formal representation. This crossing of references leads to new hybrids. With his technical ability, the artist seduces and transfixes the viewer. His transcriptions are made with reverence, never mocking or parodying his subjects. Lenkiewicz gives taken-for-granted visual language a free ride into the modern world, liberating art-historical iconography from the shackles of history into a new universe of meaning.

Exhibition Catalogue: Read here…

Private View: Tuesday 3rd June 2014

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11am – 7pm, Saturday 12 – 6pm

Image: ‘Drink Me’ by Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, oil on canvas 210 x 160 cm (2013)


Riflemaker: 79, Beak Street, London W1F 9SU – 0207-439-0000 m: 07794-629-188