The first UK exhibition of works by young Polish painter Jakub Julian Ziolkowski takes place at Hauser & Wirth London. Ziolkowski’s paintings and watercolours present a dynamic and surreal visual vocabulary, encompassing landscapes, architectural and figurative subjects, still life and portraiture.
Ziolkowski creates hallucinatory worlds that are inhabited by strange and dynamic forms that recall the language of surrealists such as Henri Rousseau. His early works frequently depicted an idealised artist’s studio, teeming with abundant plant life and peculiar insects. It’s contents are mutated into monstrous biomorphic forms that threaten to swarm off the canvas. Objects are distorted, reflected and replicated, imbued with frantic biological impulses. Household pot plants sprout hairy limbs and gaping eyes that recall the eclectic and personal symbolism of American painter Philip Guston. This private botanical landscape of excess becomes slowly overcome as these energetic lines increasingly fill the canvas and obscure its subjects.
Ziolkowski’s recent works are articulated by bold lines and vivid colours. Truncated torsos and their organs are depicted in vibrant hues, disembodied by a tangle of multicoloured veins and pulsating arteries that crisscross his canvases. The paintings oscillate between abstraction and figuration. They reflect the influence of the painter Andrzej Wroblewski (1927-1957), whose experimental style of figuration inspired contemporary Polish painters. Ziolkowski has spoken of the “emotional ventilation” that drives his compulsion to paint. “Painting,” he states, “is a crazy machine that propels itself, and the faster it goes, the less predictable the decisions and unconventional the outcomes become.”
At Hauser & Wirth London Ziolkowski presents several large colourful canvases and groups of paintings, as well as numerous works on paper. In the basement vault of the gallery, a suite of twenty-five drawings of nudes hints at an intense and secret psychological realm.
Jakub Julian Ziolkowski (born Zamosc, Poland, 1980) trained at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, Faculty for Painting and Drawing, Krakow. He was recently included in the exhibition Skulptur, Installation und Malerei aus Polen at the Kunstverein Bielefeld. Ziolkowski has had solo exhibitions in Warsaw (Foksal Gallery Foundation, 2005) and Krakow (Academy of Fine Arts, 2004). Jakub Julian Ziolkowski lives and works in Krakow.