16.12.2007 | 15.02.2008
Massimo De Carlo, Milano
Question: What does Communism, the Partito dell‘Amore, bloodlust, Eurotrash and the super model Stephanie Seymour all have in common? Answer: Piotr Uklański Galeria Massimo de Carlo is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Piotr Uklański. The exhibition will be inaugurated on Sunday, December 16th and will run through mid February 2008. Piotr Uklański was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1968. He studied painting in the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and photography at the Cooper Union School for Advancement of Science and Art, in New York. Piotr Uklański has emerged on the New York art scene in the mid-90s with an emblematic artwork, the Untitled (Dance Floor) - a sculpture that integrates the legacy of minimalism with the blurring of art and entertainment that characterizes the current era. Dividing his time between New York and Warsaw, Uklański has constructed a diverse body of work that exploits as many types of media (sculpture, photography, collage, performance, and film) as it promiscuously absorbs cultural references. His work has been internationally exhibited in various contexts including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The 50th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia 2003, the 26th Sao Paolo Biennale 2004, Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne and the Kunsthalle Basel. Uklański’s work often draws polemical reactions since the artist does not shy away from potentially controversial subjects. His photographic series The Nazis caused protests when exhibited in The Photographers Gallery in London, in 1998, and was destroyed in a publicity stunt staged by a celebrated Polish actor while on view in Zacheta Gallery in Warsaw, in 2000. Uklański’s billboard Untitled (Pope John Paul II), on the other hand, when exhibited on the streets of Warsaw, was spontaneously turned into a memorial shrine after the Pope’s death in 2005. Most recently Uklański participated in the 2005 Biennale de Lyon and has created a temporary monument to a Polish-Franco friendship, ‘Untitled (La Flamme Eternelle)’ at the Place du Trocadero in Paris. In 2006, he will have a solo exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw. His work is also on view at the highly anticipated presentation of the Francois Pinault Foundation collection at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in April 2006. His first feature film, Summer Love: The First Polish Western (2006) first premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Uklański appropriated one of popular cinema's most classic genres - the Western - to create an allegorical movie. Uklański shifts the Wild West frontier of America's past to the present of post-Communist Eastern Europe. Shot in southern Poland with a mainly Polish cast (dialogue is in English), the film's stock characters are instantly recognizable to viewers for whom the myth of the American West is ingrained by the Westerns of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Yet Uklański's film is "a copy of a copy", referring to the European spaghetti Western as much as to the American 'original'. As Uklański explains, it exploits cinema's most codified genre to address issues of cultural authenticity. With its impressive cinematography and strong performances, including an appearance by Hollywood star Val Kilmer, Summer Love functions not only as a conceptual statement, but also as a genuine Western, adding to the grand tradition of the genre. The film was most recently shown at the Whitney Museum in the autumn of 2007, and will be shown in 2008 at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at Tate Modern in London. It was nominated for the Gucci Group Award in 2007 and will go into general distribution in several countries over the corse of next year.