Wilhelm Sasnal b. 1972, Tarnów, Poland
Oil on canvas
23 7/8 x 29 7/8 x 3/4 inches (60.6 x 75.9 x 1.9 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director's Council and Executive Committee Members: Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian, Christina Baker, Ruth Baum, Edythe Broad, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, Harry David, Gail May Engelberg, Shirley Fiterman, Laurence Graff, Nicki Harris, Dakis Joannou, Rachel Lehmann, Linda Macklowe, Peter Norton, Tonino Perna, Simonetta Seragnoli, Cathie Shriro, Ginny Williams, and Elliot K. Wolk, and Sustaining Members: Linda Fischbach, Beatrice Habermann, and Cargill and Donna MacMillan, 2006
2005 Wilhelm Sasnal
Wilhelm Sasnal’s (b. 1972, Tarnow, Poland) painting has frequently been compared to that of Gerhard Richter and Luc Tuymans. Like them, Sasnal introduces a layer of mediation to his work by painting from photographs and other secondary materials, which include, in his case, news images, comic books, art catalogues, album covers, and films and animations. His work recalls Richter’s in its use of blurring and free oscillation between figuration and abstraction, and Tuymans’s with its careful cropping, sometimes chalky palette, and deliberately crude brushwork. However, while works by the more established German and Belgian display an unmistakable signature style, Sasnal’s paintings exhibit an encyclopedic eclecticism that eludes formal classification. More than anything, his prodigious output reveals a voracious, almost obsessive, drive to depict everything in our visual culture without hierarchy. In two independent, identically sized paintings acquired by the Guggenheim, this protean approach is evident: both are apparently derived from the same photograph of a bird feeder, but the relative definition and flat surface of one is replaced by the thick impasto and illegibility in the other. The subject of these works is not so much the bird feeder as it is the nature of perception and representation itself.