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- Author Wilhelm Sasnal
- Date of production 2000
- Dimensions height: 42 cm, width: 43 cm
- Author's designation artist’s signature on the back of the painting
- ID no. BS/890
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 2001
- Object copyright Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Virtual Małopolska project
Wilhelm Sasnal’s painting depicts, in a one-to-one scale, a 43-cm metal object, which comes from the hull of the continental aircraft which caused the crash of the Air France Concorde in 2000. Presented for the first time at the exhibition, Scene 2000, at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, the picture is part of a series of canvases of the artist, connected with the subject of disasters and accidents. A few of them refer directly to the events related to the Concorde: apart from the two paintings belonging to the collection of the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery, the canvas is also divided into nine sections presenting the individual stages of the plane’s explosion.more
Wilhelm Sasnal’s painting depicts, in a one-to-one scale, a 43-cm metal object, which comes from the hull of the continental aircraft which caused the crash of the Air France Concorde in 2000. Presented for the first time at the exhibition, Scene 2000, at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, the picture is part of a series of canvases of the artist, connected with the subject of disasters and accidents. A few of them refer directly to the events related to the Concorde: apart from the two paintings belonging to the collection of the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery, the canvas is also divided into nine sections presenting the individual stages of the plane’s explosion.
In the work in question, the artist has created an ironic comment on the tendency to fetishize objects that constitute evidence in determining the causes of disasters and crimes, by multiplying their images.
Wilhelm Sasnal has an unusual ability to hit the right place and the right moment. His works concern social emotions. First of all, he seeks and touches exclusively those issues that play, or are used to play, on our emotions. From punk music, through car accidents, the seductive voice of the radio presenter, sympathy for anarchism, the abandoned construction of the nuclear power plant in Żarnowiec, to the “Kursk” disaster, Jedwabne, the Holocaust, and the comic book Maus. This creates an intriguing-shocking mix that gives an idea of the emotional imbalance of our civilization. Secondly, Sasnal deals with the condition of the images that we are surrounded with and which stimulate these emotions. The images are random, sometimes indistinct or abstract, just like the image of the small metal object that caused the Concorde catastrophe.
Sasnal made a replica of the unfortunate element, in the red-yellow colour of the original, and later recreated it in black on a white canvas. In this way, the artist took on the role of one of the experts examining a seemingly trivial object of such great actual importance. The painted detail encourages reflection on how a small thing, imperceptible in other circumstances, could become not only the cause of the catastrophe that took lives of more than 100 people, but also give rise to the difficulty of solving the legal dispute between Air France and Continental, which ended with cessation of the production and use of Concorde airplanes in aviation.
The existential-philosophical considerations of Wilhelm Sasnal materialize by repeating the form of a specific object, but in a form reduced to a minimum, almost to abstraction. It is intensified by the fact that the disaster in question took place within a minimum period of time, within two minutes from the moment the aircraft took off. It should also be noted that in Sasnal’s case, the fascination with Concorde did not come to an end with a series of canvases. In 2003, a movie was made, recording the view from the window of this type of aircraft, which was just making its last commercial flight over the Atlantic. The artist gave the film a very specific form: with each subsequent display the work is gradually destroyed.
The untitled work belongs to the artist’s first pictures, painted linearly and exclusively with black paint. At the time of its formation, Wilhelm Sasnal wanted to cut himself off from painting. Hence its rawness, the technique which is close to drawing, with gestures characteristic of painting reduced to the minimum and the limitation of colours to black and white. The technique of the picture creation has thus become a reflection of the subject matter of the canvas.
Elaborated by Vera Zalutskaya (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.
Wilhelm Sasnal (born 1972) is a painter, illustrator, comic writer, and filmmaker. He is a founder and member of the now-defunct Ładnie Group (1994–2001), and co-editor of the “Słynne Pismo we Wtorek” [“Famous Letter on Tuesday”]. He is considered to be one of the leading Polish contemporary painters. He creates ironic comments about the world around him. He is interested in broadly understood contemporary times: the influence of mass media on society, the private life of people in Poland, the reception of historical events, and the functioning of narrations about the past in culture. He is fascinated by the study of limitations and the possibilities of representation, the processes of seeing and other ways of perception. He studied architecture at the Kraków Polytechnic (1992–1994) and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków (1994–1999). In 1999, he received the Grand Prix at the Biennale of Painting “Bielska Jesień”, in 2003; the prize “Pegasus” in the field of art; in 2006, the European artistic prize, the Vincent van Gogh Biennial Award in Amsterdam. Selected individual exhibitions include: T-ow (Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2003), Wilhelm Sasnal (Kunsthalle Zurich, 2003), Wilhelm Sasnal (Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, 2006), USA (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2006), Ojciec [Father] (Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, 2012). He has taken part in group exhibitions, including: Scene 2000 (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2000), Who if not we should at least try to imagine the future of all this? (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2004), The Triumph of Painting. Part Two (Saatchi Gallery, London, 2005), Painting Now! (Kunsthal Rotterdam, 2007), British British Polish Polish (CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2013). He is associated with the Foksal Gallery Foundation and the Raster Gallery in Warsaw. He lives and works in Kraków.
 Łukasz Gorczyca, Praktyka widzenia i polityka obrazów, [w:] Między naturą a kulturą, red. J. Ciesielska, Bielsko-Biała 2002, p. 122–124.