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Piotr Uklanski: Kunsthalle Basel.



In the artist's book published to coincide with his exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel, Piotr Uklanski interviews his fellow Pole Roman Polanski, who recalls his attempts to prevent the 1968 Cannes Film Festival Cannes Film Festival

Film festival held annually in Cannes, France. First held in 1946 for the recognition of artistic achievement, the festival came to provide a rendezvous for those interested in the art and influence of the movies.
 from being canceled despite the student uprisings in Paris. One inevitably connects the filmmaker's determination to indulge in glamour while expressing support for the revolutionaries with Uklanski's own desire to seek out and communicate beauty while subjecting it to critical analysis. But where does a fascination with the romantic end and irony begin?

This was Uklanski's first major institutional solo exhibition, and it initiated Adam Szymczyk's directorship of the kunsthalle. Artist and curator used the opportunity to orchestrate the heterogeneous nature of Uklanski's practice, questioning whether beauty can still be presented in an exhibition and experimenting with ways to frame a highly contemporary aesthetic in a traditional kunsthalle. The layout of the exhibition was determined by color, an idiosyncratic id·i·o·syn·cra·sy  
n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies
1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.

2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.

3.
 rationale but one that draws out both the highly constructed nature of the work and the connections between various media--photography, collage, painting, sculpture, and light installation. The viewer's journey began with a new work made for the exterior wall of the building. A mosaic of white porcelain crockery, punctuated with flashes of red, Untitled (Kamikaze kamikaze (kä'məkä`zē) [Jap.,=divine wind], the typhoon that destroyed Kublai Khan's fleet, foiling his invasion of Japan in 1281. ), 2004, set the tone for the exhibition's baroque minimalism minimalism, schools of contemporary art and music, with their origins in the 1960s, that have emphasized simplicity and objectivity. Minimalism in the Visual Arts
. A red antechamber displaying predominantly black-and-white works was followed by a large gallery centered on Untitled (Japan), 2004, a circular wall painting whose monochrome redness, suggesting a perversely flat imitation of Anish Kapoor's sublime pigment sculptures, was echoed by variations of the same color in Verb 1. color in - add color to; "The child colored the drawings"; "Fall colored the trees"; "colorize black and white film"
color, colorise, colorize, colour in, colourise, colourize, colour
 large-scale photographs and gouache gouache (gwäsh): see watercolor painting.
gouache

Opaque watercolour. Also known as poster paint, designer's colour, and body colour, it differs from transparent watercolour in that the pigments are bound by liquid glue, which is
 collages. Depicting themes close to Uklanski's heart--planets, flowers, the elements, and phenomena of light--these were the most thought-provoking works in the exhibition. Communicating landscape in its purest form through a lowbrow aesthetic, the paintings treat abstraction and realism as surface elements to mix and match while the photographs catch the imagination precisely because they are kitsch.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A smaller, white-walled gallery was occupied solely by the minimal intervention Untitled (Dirty Sanchez), 2004. A hole in the wall contained within a drawing of a face, it replaced the high production values Production values is a media term for "production cost." It refers to the professional look, or "polish," of a production. Factors that affect perceived production value may include video and audio quality, lighting, number of errors, and amount and quality of special effects.  of the previous rooms with a quotation of graffiti, its staged rebellion continuing in the gray-painted gallery next door with three photographic self-portraits. Untitled (Skull), 2000, both references the daguerreotype daguerreotype

First successful form of photography. It is named for Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, who invented the technique in collaboration with Nicéphore Niépce.
 technique and echoes Salvador Dali's self-portrait in its depiction of the artist surrounded by nude models. Together with Untitled (Self-Portrait with Mobawk), 2004, and Untitled (Self-Portrait as a Flame), 2004, it evoked a heroic punk persona that served to intensify the ambiguity between innocence and cynicism elsewhere in the exhibition.

After a room presenting landscape photographs and one large gouache collage, all dominated by tones of blue, Untitled (Cross-Eyed), 2001, came as a surprise as the sole work in the large white gallery, viewed diagonally from the entrance. Two circular wooden panels, like black inlaid in·laid  
v.
Past tense and past participle of inlay.

adj.
1. Set into a surface in a decorative pattern: a mahogany dresser with an inlaid teak design.

2.
 pupils surrounded by the amber shades of Noun 1. shades of - something that reminds you of someone or something; "aren't there shades of 1948 here?"
reminder - an experience that causes you to remember something
 their irises, transformed the room into a face that gazed back at the viewer. The subdued tones of this final work contrasted with the explosion of bright color elsewhere in the exhibition, while the structures in the marquetry marquetry (mär`kətrē), branch of cabinetwork in which a decorative surface of wood or other substance is glued to an object on a single plane.  created a final flourish to the formal pattern-making and symmetries that link Uklanski's works. Simulating lightning, the installation Untitled (Riders in the Sky), 2004, completed the choreography of the exhibition with a tongue-in-cheek destruction of the skylit gallery, the jewel in the crown of the kunsthalle. This dramatic gesture was impressively constructed but lacked the edginess necessary to make it more than just elegant.
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Author:Lunn, Felicity
Publication:Artforum International
Geographic Code:4EXSI
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:589
Previous Article:Bruno Peinado: Palais de Tokyo.
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