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WOLFE VON LENKIEWICZ

ALGEBRA: THE REUNION OF BROKEN PARTS


WOLFE VON LENKIEWICZ ALGEBRA: THE REUNION OF BROKEN PARTS

15 - 25 OCTOBER 2014


The Origin of the Species 2014 Oil on canvas Gilded Florentine Frame 190 cm × 120 cm Wolfe von Lenkiewicz’s painting The Origin of

Leonardo’s work is carried over as it were into

Species is identical in size to the National Gallery

evolutionary enquiry. Leonardo da Vinci held it

Virgin of the Rocks with carefully considered

to be self-evident that we are closely related to

changes to the composition.

apes. He didn’t even present it as a case to be

The inclusion of Michelangelo’s sculpture of the

argued. He explicitly says “apes, monkeys and

infant Jesus in the group as the figure of Christ

the like” are not merely related to humans but

inverts Da Vinci’s composition in two ways. The

indeed “almost of the same species”.

original positioning of Christ in the painting is

The evolution of mankind is also reflected in the

beneath the Madonna and not to her side where

evolution of the image itself. The deconstruc-

originally John the Baptist kneels. The new figure

tion of the work from its’ re-interpretation by

by Leonardo’s nemesis and rival Michelangelo is

Wolfe von Lenkiewicz is reflected, distorted

an early work of the master from The Madonna

and infused by the double headed fountain of

of Bruges. The marble of the statue has been

the two existing works. The Virgin of the Rocks

translated into oil paint and integrated into the

has two authentic attributions to Da Vinci in

composition.

the London National Gallery and the Louvre

Beneath Mary replacing the infant Christ is now

but numerous other copies exist notably such

a monkey originally painted by George Stubbs

as the version in Switzerland by Giovanni Pi-

from the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. The

etro Rizzoli. The works twin in the Louvre is

monkey is holding peaches and gestures a

now reflected again in another mirror and it is

blessing to Christ and in this respect the Simian

in these multiple reflections we see the origi-

becomes St John and in a form a prophet of the

nal meaning distorted and infused. The vis-

wilderness but also our possible ancient ances-

age of Mary’s face has also been replaced by

tor in the Darwinian mode.

that of Michelangelo’s Pieta, one of the only

The gaze of the monkey is so direct as if anthropomorphic and given to human introspection challenging our perception of the boundaries between the perceived and the perceiver. In Christian art and literature the monkey and the ape eating an apple represents the fall of man. The overriding scientific quest for answers in

representations of Mary capable of equaling Leonardo’s own in universal beauty. The correlation of the two twin peaks of Renaissance genius is a curious one designed to question the intimate understanding of the artist’s relation to each other’s work.


Mona Lisa 2014 Oil on panel Gilded Florentine Frame 98 cm × 76 cm The intimate and approachable format of this portrait is exactly the scale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and the figure adopts the same pose. However, while the calm hands folded gently on the lap are derived from the same work, the rest of the painting is built up from motifs found across Leonardo’s oeuvre: the trees at the left come from the Uffizi Gallery’s Annunciation, the tress at right from The Virgin and St. Anne, the banded ribbon shoulders from La Belle Ferronière, and the visage from the early Portrait of Ginevra de’Benci. This studied meditation on the work of Leonardo extends even to the picture’s frame, which is an exact replica of the frame donated to the Louvre by the Comtesse dae Béhague in 1909, which in its turn was based on Renaissance originals. This is a work of complex mystery that condenses Leonardo’s artistic output into a singular figure of serenity.


Birth of Venus 2014 Oil on canvas 300 cm × 180 cm

the foam of the waves finds an echo in the patterns of the figures’ drapery, while the elegance

When Botticelli painted his Birth of Venus, he

of finely intertwining lines is expressed in both

was heavily criticised by his contemporaries for

the sea and the postures. The clamshell and

the flat lack of volume in his figures, which

parasol seem to reflect each other, forcing the

appeared to be made of little more than lines.

eye to the central figure. Here though, Kashosai

In this work, von Lenkiewicz has found what

Shunsen’s Lady in a Snow-Storm, a geisha, re-

Goethe called ‘elective affinities’ between the

places Botticelli’s Venus, which in itself served

almost Gothic emphasis on pattern and delicate

as a Humanist replacement for the Virgin Mary.

contour found in Botticelli and the wood-block

This is a work of elegance and erotica, cast in

Shunga prints being made in Japan in the 18th

the vibrant maritime blue of the Madonna’s

and 19th centuries. Here the repeated sinews of

robes in The Origin of Species.


The Hunters in the snow 2014 Oil on canvas Gilded Florentine Frame 160 cm × 120 cm While the white-brushed landscape of this scene has been taken from Pieter Breughel’s Hunters in the Snow, the viewer bears witness not to gambolling children but rather to the Napoleonic retreat from Russia, which here is mingled with the remnants of the defeated infanteristen der schnee of the Second World War. At centre stage is the figure of the Napoleon, garbed in the grey of the failed invasion, while a destroyed spacecraft that takes cues from the anti-gravitational designs of Viktor Schauberger smoulders in the snow beside him. Centuries of time have here been condensed to a singular moment of retreat and destruction, played out amidst what T. S. Eliot described as the warmth of forgetful snow, while the telescopic gaze of Napoleon leads the viewer’s eyes outside the picture, as though meanings are to be found beyond the frame.


The Intervention Of The Sabine Women 2013 Installation view, pencil on japanese restoration paper 540 cm × 360 cm The Intervention of The Sabine Women, 2013, appears initially to be a scale rendition in pencil of Jacques-Louis David’s Rape of the Sabine Women and yet on closer inspection this drawing proves itself to be an amalgamation of a series of different works by David as witnessed by the appearance of the limp, emaciated body of Marat lifted from his epic canvas The Death of Marat from 1793. The work owes it’s structure to a fusion of different elements by a single artist, that when brought together create a new singular vision born from the disparate parts of multiple originals.


Comrade Of The Sky 2010 Charcoal on canvas 335 cm Ă— 370 cm


“The Origin of the Species� (Drawing) 2014 Pencil on japanese restoration paper 190 x 120 cm


“The Origin of the Species� (Drawing) 2014 Pencil on japanese restoration paper 190 x 120 cm


“The Origin of the Species� (Drawing), Details 2014 Pencil on japanese restoration paper 190 x 120 cm


“Mona Lisa” (Drawing) 2014 Pencil on japanese restoration paper 98 cm × 76 cm


Apostle .I 2014 Pencil on japanese restoration paper


Apostle .II 2014 Pencil on japanese restoration paper


Apostle .III 2014 Pencil on japanese restoration paper


WOLFE VON LENKIEWICZ ALGEBRA: THE REUNION OF BROKEN PARTS

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 comprises 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 early 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.


4

2

+2

+3=0 4(

+3)(

+-1)


CONTACT SALES ENQUIRIES

PRESS ENQUIRIES

Victoria Golembiovksaya

Katherine Cocke

Director, House of the Nobleman M +44 7902 874 093 victoria@houseofthenobleman.com

Katherine.Cocke@luchfordapm.com Katie Trueman Katie.Trueman@luchfordapm.com FOR ALL OTHER ENQUIRIES,

GENERAL ENQUIRIES

PLEASE EMAIL

Fraser Brough, Exhibition Manager

info@houseofthenobleman.com

M +44 7899 030 906 fraser@houseofthenobleman.com HOUSE OF THE NOBLEMAN LTD Studio House, 3B Hill Road London NW8 9QE www.houseofthenobleman.com


WOLFE VON LENKIEWICZ ALGEBRA: THE REUNION OF BROKEN PARTS 15 - 25 OCTOBER 2014 HOUSE OF THE NOBLEMAN 9 GROSVENOR PLACE LONDON SW1X 7SH VIEWING DAILY: 15 - 18 OCTOBER 12 PM - 12 MIDNIGHT 19 - 25 OCTOBER 12 - 9 PM To book a viewing appointment or for further information please see our website or contact: Fraser Brough, Exhibition Manager fraser@houseofthenobleman.com www.houseofthenobleman.com


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Wolfe Von Lenkiewicz | Algebra: The Reunion Of Broken Parts