Carelessly we throw away our half empty paper coffee cup, leaving a brownish beige film without giving it a second thought. A moment of somewhat purposeful carelessness, or a childish accident that creates another mark on our urban landscape. These little signs of human life create an image of necessary human imperfections, the forgotten clumsiness associated with our daily lives, an image of our disregard for spaces and things that we assume as unimportant, banal, but at once individual and particular. It is in these unnoticed moments that R.K. Polak’s finds ‘objects of beauty’, the leftover shards and stenciled markings created by momentary disorder that represents the actions and remnants of a throwaway culture.
These works act as an extension of the artist’s broader practice that borders the threshold of abstraction and minimalism, with reference to the emotional dis-attachment of the Colour Field Paintings of the 50s and 60s. The artist returns to previously worked canvases, painting over and scratching the surface, adding ash, soil, cat litter, coca cola, coffee, wine, toilet paper, everyday dirt, which give the canvas a sculptural element creating opportunity for a new visual language. Imbued with the artist’s action these works touch on an abstract expressionist model and yet are so apparently a narrative of our time. References to High Art become almost comedic as the artist challenges past ideals taking segments of contemporary culture and the everyday ‘rubbish’ we tend to ignore. Often subjecting these canvases to abuse, these works are a result of a performativity whereby the artist challenges the potential for the canvas. Folded, printed, left on the studio floor, sometimes driven over, these canvases acquire more levels of debris adding to the intersecting language of found and created imagery, thus resulting in a visual narrative of the artist’s interaction and confrontation with the potentials of what artistic language might mean when presented in the still image on the canvas.
R.K. Polak, artist and musician, born 15/08/1975 in Poland. Lives and works in London, England since 1999.
'mexico city dust & other short stories" galerie sonia monti paris 2021
"mexico city dust & other short stories" galerie sonia monti paris 2021
‘’penile absolute’’ ovalo galeria di arte,
mexico city 2020
"consequences" peacock skins studio, london 2018
"white paintings" cf unit studio, london 2017
"tendencies" peacock skins studio, london 2016
"dirty paintings" london college of contemporary art, london 2015
"sterling" royal college of art,london 2014
"the wall will fall tonight" royal college of art, london 2013
"two twos" light house studios, london 2012