Piotr Uklanski: BIALO-CZERWONA

Piotr Uklanski: BIALO-CZERWONA
Library Shelf Location 18.UKLA
Publication Date 2008
Description "Bialo-Czerwona" (white-red), referring to Poland's bi-colored flag, is a nationalist slogan as familiar to Poles as "Red, White, and Blue" is to Americans. Uklanski's title unites diverse works that engage typical imagery of his native Poland and play on the red/white palette. Although BIALO-CZERWONA is, on one level, authentically Polish, in its use of populist decorative traditions and political symbols alluding to the country's not-so-distant Communist past the exhibition is also a highly stylized performance of identity. In international contexts such as the 2004 Bienal de São Paulo, Uklanski has represented Poland; elsewhere he has been labeled a "New York artist" or an "international artist": The art world demands that artists disavow their cultural authenticity one moment and embrace it the next. Uklanski recognizes just how powerful this fluidity can be and uses this occasion to embody simultaneously the roles of international artist, Gastarbeiter, new American, and patriotic Pole. Throughout the exhibition, Uklanski utilizes cheap materials to create works that draw on the celebratory ambitions and aggrandizing stagecraft of political events. By fusing such propagandist gestures with vernacular techniques and materials borrowed from popular folk traditions—-exemplified in Szopki Krakowskie (Christmas crèche scenes)and a site-specific mosaic fashioned from ceramic dishware—- he conjures an idealized vision of his homeland. Not only does Uklanski exploit the "exotic" quality of these indigenous forms; by reifying their very ordinariness, he elicits beauty from the confines of lo-fi objects. At once monumental and humble, collective and individual, profound and banal, theatrical and genuine, the works in BIALO-CZERWONA advance Uklanski's ongoing project to create deliberately unstable political, formal, and symbolic meaning in art.
ISBN 1932598723
Quantity 1
Pages 151 pages; Fully illustrated; 21.6 x 28.6 cm
Author Gavin Brown
Format Hardback
Publisher Gagosian Gallery, New York
Related Artist Piotr Uklanski
Category Artist (relating to a single artist/collaborative team)
Keywords Mosaic, Political art
Artist's Nationality Polish
Language English

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