Which Way? / 11.04.2013 – 20.05.2013
The exhibition, shown for the first time in Warsaw, covers artist’s paintings and his three carvings dating back to the period of his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, which are the result of the annex made in the Studio of Sculpture. Apart from individual works, Aleksander Laszenko belongs to an artistic group called Der Blaue Ratler. He has participated in about 40 individual and collective exhibitions in Poland and abroad.
Works of Aleksander Laszenko can be associated with the tradition of American painting of the 20th century. It seems that he mostly derives from the works of Edward Hopper – they both share similar interest in light andthe special atmosphere of melancholy and alienation. On this basis, Laszenko developed his unique and austere style, devoid of unnecessary effort and without saturation of details; large masses of light and shadow create highly structured world of solid and massive shapes.
Aleksander Laszenko makes a subjective choice of painted spaces which reveal his penchant for modernist architecture. He presents simplified and aesthetic views taken from the urban landscape. These are landscapes of Warsaw, Berlin and other cities viewed in synthetic and harmonious way, giving them distinct and individual character. Through strong and carefully framed urban views and the use of vast stretches of flat color patches, the paintings can be regarded as antimimetic, moving towards abstraction. The artist does not suggest recipients to choose a particular interpretation – paintings usually do not have titles, they cannot be associated with any existing place. Through the form of their presentation and some sequential mode in the compilation of colors and contrasts, we can admire the beauty of painting based mainly on geometric abstraction.
Laszenko fills his interest in light, monumental architecture and his passion for flat colour patches with the specific, metaphysical atmosphere. Observing empty and somehow dominant spaces, a tension arises due to an overwhelming color of the sky and the unnatural simplicity. The atmosphere of alienation is palpable. This is similar to solutions used by the surrealists, however, the artist in his interpretation looks for some order. Laszenko presents the world devoid of man – a viewer experiences raw and abandoned perspective, the uninhabited urban space. The artist questions the Cartesian “I think, therefore I am” replacing it with the minimalist “I perceive, therefore I am”, what makes the subject – observer relation a guarantee of sense.
The exhibition also includes small reliefs: two of them are made of wax, and a third one is cast in bronze and finished with patination. The exhibited works can be perceived as an additional aspect of departing from anthropomorphism, expressed by the use of minimalist form. In opposition to paintings hung on the wall, mentioned reliefs become their observers, and therefore they are viewers brought to the form of flattened cuboids.
Tradition of minimalism and neoplastic compositions associated mainly with works of Piet Mondrian can be treated as a source of inspiration. Laszenko’s archaic forms resemble fragments of Mondrian’s paintings. Worth mentioning is scenographic sensation of Mondrian himself, in which he brought the human form to black, vertical rectangle. Reliefs complete the sense of paintings, and considering the time spent on their creation in some way they announce a full-fledged painting work of the author.
Laszenko’s artistic achievements can by interpreted as a desire to maintain the continuity of painting tradition characterized by ‘peaceful realism’, also found in works of Giorgio de Chirico, David Hockney or the already mentioned Edward Hopper.From the perspective of the 21th century, works of Alexander Laszenko have evolved from the fascination with youthful ideals towards more mature and abstract forms.