WILLIAM SASNAL Columbus in London

Famous Polish artist Wilhelm Sasnal will present his new work, Columbus, at Sadie Coles in the Mayfair district of London. The 28-minute film, which uses ambiguous images, technically hints at the ambivalence of this historical figure and his manic depression. 

Sasnal’s new film, Columbus, is the latest in a series of film works, including experimental short films and feature films that were created in parallel with the development of the artist’s career

In Columbus, the journey of the New World discoverer is narrated by laconic phrases in which historical facts are mixed with otherworldly tales. Filmed by a 16 mm camera in the director’s hometown, Krakow, and in San Francisco, the film exacerbates the sluggish and incoherent mood of history. In the motion picture, motifs are disconnected, the sequence is broken – a boy wandering around the park area, darkened squares on paper, radio towers towering above the trees. All this transfers quixotic events to the usual plane. Much, like in Sasnal’s paintings, various sort of “banalities of everyday life” are endowed with increased meaning, abstracted from the context and saturated with unresolved meaning.

As in the author’s previous short films, the small scale, as well as the claustrophobic vignettes, indicate the influence of Polish avant-garde and neo-avant-garde cinema. Frames with the artist’s family sometimes seem to accidentally intersect with the events of which he is narrating. This happens, as in the genre of “personal cinema”, which was widespread in Poland in the communist era. According to critic Lukash Ronduda, this style of filmmaking, often imitating the short films of the poet Miron Bialoshevsky, “is closely connected with the artist’s life and focuses on recording the platitudes of everyday life, fantasies and masquerade.”

A Brief Biography of Wilhelm Sasnal

Wilhelm Sasnal is a comic book artist, illustrator and draftsman. Born in 1972 in Tarnov, where he continues to live and work. He was one of the founders of the art group Красивadnie ’, which now does not exist. He is currently associated with the Foxal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw.

Wilhelm Sasnal’s work is inspired by daily life and the media. He interprets reality in a personal, often intimate way, creating expressive images that leave an unforgettable experience. His paintings and films play freely with styles, modes of presentation, methods and artistic means, vary them. However, in the case of technology, Sasnal always remains faithful to the traditional base – canvas, oil for creating his paintings and movie camera when making films. A strong sense of history and personal memory merge in his works.
According to many critics, Sasnal is one of the leading artists of his generation. He emphasizes personal affection and emotional attitude to the themes of his works, which he chooses, carefully observing the surroundings. The main issues that continue to interest him are the limits and possibilities of representation and the investigative process of vision and perception. This explains why his works are so diverse stylistically.

Individual exhibitions and displays of Sasnal’s works were held in Europe and the USA, including Take Me To The Other Side, Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland (2014), then at Haus der Kunst in Munich (2012); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2011); K21, Dusseldorf, Germany; and Centro De Arte Contemporàneo, Spain (both 2009); Wilhelm Sasnal – Years of Struggle, Zacheta, Warsaw (2008); Matrix, The Berkeley Art Museum, California (2005); and Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2003).
He was invited to the XXVI Bienal de Sao Paolo in 2004 and was nominated along with four other finalists for the Vincent Prize at the Stedelijk Museum. With Anka Sasnal, the artist wrote the scripts and directed four feature films – Huba (2013), It Looks Pretty from a Distance (2011), Fallout (2010) and Swineherd (2009).