09.09 – 11.09.2016
Salon Ninety One will be participating in the FNB Joburg Art Fair from the 9th until the 11th of September 2016. This year the gallery will be presenting a curated solo exhibition of works by Andrzej Urbanski.
Visitors to the Salon Ninety One Booth can expect to see Urbanski’s signature large-scale abstract Canvases, composed of shimmering optically bending spaces in jewel-like hues, complimented by the minimalism, strong lines and illusory play between the planes and shadows of the Artist’s metal Sculptures.
Since its inception, Salon91 has remained dedicated to serving as a platform for the development of young / upcoming South African artists, and more recently a small percentage of international artists. A number of young artists exhibiting with the gallery have proven to excel in their respective fields, showing considerable growth and appreciation over the years. The impressive positive trajectory of Andrzej Urbanski’s career over the last three years of exhibiting with Salon91 bears testament to the gallery’s mission, rendering a solo showing by the artist a highly appropriate representation of the gallery and its work at this important African Art Fair.
Andrzej Urbanski – FNB Joburg Art Fair Collection
Text by Natasha Norman
Andrzej Urbanski creates large, shimmering, optically bending spaces inspired by the textures, colours and sensations of 21st century living. His paintings and sculptures are a translation of the digital image into the art object. Forms are inspired by the architectural squares, triangles and hexagons of today’s contemporary built environment. His abstraction of these elements on the canvas refers to the shape and colour of media, fashion and cellphone app technology. His is a digital formalism in direct response to the often fleeting, colourful, digital imaging on screen and street.
The street runs deeply in his blood. The many years as an undergraduate Communication and Design student in the very newly de-walled Berlin was a time of full-time devotion to graffiti. After Urbanski had converted his undergraduate diploma into a degree and set off to accept an offer at the coveted University for Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland, he began to pursue a more traditional form of painting full-time. Coming from a design and communication training, Urbanski puts these skills in direct dialogue with the art historical weight of painting and sculpture.
He has always loved the great master painters. The art historical inspirations of Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Franz Akerman, Trevor Coleman and Bridget Riley are reimagined through his work with a contemporary relevance: he recognises the current field of aesthetic experience as one facing an absence of reality where the ‘real’ retreats ever further behind the interactive screen of new media. His response to this is a rebellious appropriation of the materiality of the spraycan as paint on canvas. He employs an empathetic abstraction of Modernist architecture and appropriates the formal planes of mass culture and architecture in a carefully crafted pastiche of art historical movements with clear references to the Minimalist concerns of Sol LeWitt in machine-like aesthetic finishes.
The works you see before you are a testament to the German philosopher and art historian, Wilhelm Worringer’s assertion that abstract art is not a withdrawal from the world but a direct engagement with it. There is a ‘truth to production’ in the numerical titling of his paintings based upon production processes. Breaking with the traditional confines of the frame (square or rectangular), his latest works fracture the security of the picture plane where compositional forms misshape the canvas edge. Such an idea makes particular reference to Cubism and Brutalist Architecture.
His process connects both to a family history of artisanal skill and a desire to question the aesthetic of the machine. Just because something looks digital, doesn’t mean it was made by a machine. It is the tiny imperfections, the strange stray of the spraycan or the scar of the taped line that remind us of Urbanski’s hand-made and hands-on involvement in the work’s production. His meticulous attention to form, materials and precision belie a rare artistic skill born from a personal desire to be “better then the machine.”
Andrzej Urbanski is a Polish-German painter & sculptor who resides in South Africa. His most recent solo exhibition was titled Mindgame, presented by Salon91 during March 2015. The Artist has been represented by the gallery at the Cape Town Art Fair (2013; 2014; 2015; 2016) and at the Turbine Art Fair (2014; 2015; 2016). During May this year he exhibited alongside American artist Tahiti Person at Salon91 in an exhibition titled, Paths (May 2016).
Visit Salon91 at Booth #17 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. For more information and enquiries please contact Salon91 on 021-424-6930.