Wilhelm Sasnal is a prolific contemporary artist who for the past fifteen years has produced a vast body of work of painted and filmic images. During his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Sasnal helped form an artist’s collective, whose members produced paintings of their present, often banal surroundings, using a deskilled aesthetic that opposed the style valued by their teachers. Today, the brutal often sits alongside the banal in Sasnal’s paintings, intersecting within a constant tension of abstraction and representation, and even the illusionism and materiality of paint itself. For his paintings, Sasnal draws from all manner of mediated source material, including old pictures books, press photographs, television stills, comics, reproductions of Old Masters, video and film stills, images downloaded from the Internet and his own snapshots. Throughout his career, Sasnal has explore painting references and limits. He has also focused his practice on portraits, of which his wife, Anka and son Kacper are regular protagonists. Another prominent theme in Sasnal’s paintings is Polish history, specifically the atrocities of World War II, Holocaust and themes dealing with the Catholic Church. In parallel to Sasnal’s painting practice is his filmmaking. In 2008, he finished his first feature-length thirty-five millimeter film, Swineherd. He has also produced several short films inspired by music videos. Much like his paintings, Sasnal’s films encapsulate his ongoing attempt to translate the distance between lived experience and the imagery that mediates it.
For Henzel Studio Collaborations, Sasnal adapted a pencil drawing of outlines onto graph paper into the media at hand. Variable pile heights of the graphite lines create a carved effect, whereas enhanced composition of silk in the graphed areas create contrast and nuance.