Hauser & Wirth opens the year with Jakub Julian Ziolkowski’s exhibition ‘Raw Thoughts’. In these new works, the young Polish artist invents a surreal and transgressive universe that is both foreign and familiar, with forms and creatures that appear to have surfaced from the wildest of dreams and nightmares.
The exhibition draws the viewer into Ziolkowski’s world, inhabited by bizarre hybrids of flesh, organs, tentacles, and giant eyes. The references to art history in his works are unmistakable, whether to the grotesque masks of James Ensor, the pictorial idiom of Philip Guston and Henri Rousseau, or the visions of heaven and hell of Hieronymus Bosch.
One series of paintings depicts the life and crucifixion of Bananus, or as Ziolkowski describes, ‘the modern pop-religious king of the new city in a new century, born in a cheap hospital, who died young’. The banana appears in this cycle as a recurring prop or, at times, as the [...]