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Wilhelm Sasnal: Painting as Prop

22 May - 2024
by Vincent Moleveld
106

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The Stedelijk Museum proudly presents the exhibition Painting as Prop by the renowned Polish artist Wilhelm Sasnal (1972, Tarnów, Poland) in the prestigious IMC Hall. This impressive exhibition features twenty-five paintings, some of which played a crucial role as props in Sasnal's recent film project The Assistant. This project explores the boundaries between art and film, letting them collide with the contemporary world.

Wilhelm Sasnal

Wilhelm Sasnal is known for his versatile and often provocative works. One of the highlights of the exhibition is his painting Untitled (after The Dance by Henri Matisse), 2018, executed in oil and spray paint on canvas, measuring 260 × 340 cm. This work, along with many others, showcases Sasnal's ability to reinterpret classic themes and integrate them into a modern context.

Wilhelm Sasnal, Pigsty, 2011, oil on canvas, 200 × 440 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Foksal Gallery Foundation. Photo: Marek Gardulski.
Wilhelm Sasnal, Pigsty, 2011, oil on canvas, 200 × 440 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Foksal Gallery Foundation. Photo: Marek Gardulski.

The Assistant, the 2024 film, is based on the eponymous novel by Swiss writer Robert Walser from 1907. In this novel, the protagonist Joseph Marti, an assistant to engineer-inventor Carl Tobler, becomes entangled in Tobler's bizarre world. For the film, Sasnal created reinterpretations of modern and avant-garde masterpieces, which served as film props. These reinterpretations are now on display in Painting as Prop, alongside paintings inspired by archival images and snapshots of everyday life.

The Exhibition

Painting as Prop was specially developed for the IMC Hall of the Stedelijk Museum, located at the heart of the museum. This hall is historically linked to the museum's avant-garde art collections and famous exhibitions. Sasnal plays with this legacy by combining fragments from the modern art canon with everyday objects and situations, bringing together human and non-human protagonists.

The exhibition explores themes such as human adaptability and disposability within the capitalist economy, derived from Walser's novel. Additionally, Sasnal draws connections between modern art and historical events of the twentieth century. His keen eye captures the madness of modern life and encourages visitors to reflect on the changing political landscape and social norms.

Wilhelm Sasnal, Untitled, 2017, oil on canvas, 140 × 180 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Foksal Gallery Foundation. Photo: Marek Gardulski.
Wilhelm Sasnal, Untitled, 2017, oil on canvas, 140 × 180 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Foksal Gallery Foundation. Photo: Marek Gardulski.

Conclusion

Painting as Prop is a powerful exhibition that not only references Sasnal's film project but also offers a profound exploration of our times. The artist successfully confronts the viewer with the challenges of modern existence and the complex relationship between art and society.

Wilhelm Sasnal — Painting as Prop

Dates: March 30 to September 1, 2024

Location: Stedelijk Museum, IMC Hall

Don't miss this unique opportunity to discover the work of Wilhelm Sasnal and be inspired by his vision of the world. Book your tickets today!

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Header image: Wilhelm Sasnal, Untitled (After Dance by Henri Matisse), 2018, oil and spray paint on canvas, 260 × 340 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Foksal Gallery Foundation. Photo: Marek Gardulski.