"Death of the author," artist Wolfe von Lenkiewicz stresses, "does not mean death of responsibility," a point that is re-emphasised throughout his latest exhibition, 'I Have an Excellent Idea, Let's Change the Subject'. In this video for Crane.tv, Lenkiewicz explains that his bold and vibrant pieces showcase a desire to appropriate the theories of language and mythology within our own popular culture: "where is the source of the river? Where is the starting line, and where is the finishing line? Does an artist die and his work stop working?"
Popular culture, therefore, provides the perfect platform for Lenkiewicz to develop this point. Amalgamating images from children's popular culture such as "Alice in Wonderland," Disney's "Snow White," and "Rupert the Bear," with classic, highly-referenced backdrops from art history, including Morris, Balthus and Boccioni. Lenkiewicz demonstrates a further belief that no piece of art is untouchable by another artist. Images are not sacred because nothing really ends; the world keeps changing, and so to then, must the perception of the images around us.
Although this topic could be said to be nothing new, it is Lenkiewicz's bold, unapologetic and, at times, violent, visual approach that separates him from what has been before. Past work from the artist have seen butterflies soaring from the site of 9/11, the traditionally pure Snow White with her legs askew revealing raunchy suspenders, and a small Alice of Wonderland fame clambering up the body of a Nazi soldier. His art form, Lenkiewicz explains, demonstrates characters that are "evicted from their original purpose," and in this way represent "the infinite combination of unexpected possibilities".
Lenkiewicz' latest exhibition at London's AVA continues these themes, demonstrating that his desecration of these images is indicative of our ambivalence to their true source, forcing us to consider their new role within our modern time.
Text by Charlotte Rutherford for Crane.tv
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