Jakub Julian Ziolkowski: A just-paint painter

 Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, “Caligula,” 2010, oil on canvas, 63 x 52 3/4 in

Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, “Untitled (King of Israel), ” 2010, oil on canvas, 74 3/4 x 65″

Jakub Julian Ziolkowski , “The Clash,” 2010, acrylic and oil on canvas, 68 7/8 x 82 5/8″
In the NY Times, Roberta Smith reports that young Polish painter Jakub Julian Ziolkowski is currently the subject of quite a bit of buzz among collectors. “Born in Zamosc, Poland, in 1980, he had his first three solo shows in his homeland in 2004, starting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, where he studied. In 2005 he had his first solo outside Poland, at Galerie Martin Janda in Vienna. In 2006 his second non-Polish solo took place at the London gallery of the contemporary art juggernaut Hauser & Wirth, on view during the Frieze Art Fair. I remember seeing that show and finding it riveting but retro, like some unexpected Eastern European offshoot of the Italian Transavantgarde of Sandro Chia and Enzo Cucchi….

“All 28 of the paintings and gouaches in this show � titled ‘Timothy Galoty & the Dead Brains,’ in tribute to an imaginary rock band � date from this year. The band is conjured in several colorful, vaguely Neo-Expressionist paintings that resemble concert posters; one features a figure with two faces and a split skull from which his brain is emerging like a jack-in-the-box. The brain wears the same striped shirt and eyeball-patterned bow tie as the larger figure. (Brains and eyeballs recur in other works here, as do self-portraits of the bespectacled artist, who in this piece waves from behind a candle in the lower right corner.)

“He might be called a just-paint painter. In contrast to artists like Luc Tuymans, Michael Krebber, Josh Smith or Tomma Abts, his efforts involve no photographic sources; thick, bravura brushwork; eccentric techniques; degraded everyday materials; or Conceptual frameworks. He avoids extremes of pure abstraction or precise realism, and he seems completely uninterested in painting as an object or an installation-art element…

“There�s a grossness to this work and its bodily extremes that wasn�t as visible last year at the New Museum, where Mr. Ziolkowski�s efforts looked, in the main, a bit more mature and varied. Maybe it is just a phase he is going through. Maybe he wants to counter the chic gallery setting with some unsettling rawness, letting us know that success is fine, but that he doesn�t intend to take it easy, or be easy to take.”

“Jakub Julian Ziolkowski: Timothy Galoty & The Dead Brains,” Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY. Through July 30, 2010.


  1. Top one reminds me of Miles Mendenhall's "shock" drawing.

  2. Was just about to ask you if you had seen this show, I think it was quite impressive.

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