Adam Niklewicz – TO GOGOL WITH LOVE
The solo show TO GOGOL WITH LOVE by Adam Niklewicz, on view through June 26th, 2016 at JUMP Gallery in Ukraine (3 Monastyrska St., Poltava) is a tribute to Nikolai Gogol’s writing and, at the same time, stands out through the cross-cultural aspect that blends together disparate symbols to form a fresh thought-provoking reality. For instance, one of his opening performances “mixes the folk traditions of Ukraine and Mexico to reveal that a specific societal model can reoccur all the way across the world under a different guise”. This discourse is often initiated by Adam from his position as emigrant artist (Polish born, US based), leading to all kinds of unexpected connections or incongruities in a dynamic clash of cultures highlighted with a wonderful sense of humor.
Discussing his ‘Gogolesque’ exhibition and his interest in the Poltava born writer, the artist shares with us how it all began in 2010 with an invitation to join a group show in New York titled ‘Post-Gogol’: “My knowledge of Nikolai Gogol’s writing was limited then, but my curiosity about it was not. I fairly quickly read a good chunk of Gogol’s prose (all I could gather out of what was translated into Polish) and realized that I just ‘discovered’ a brilliant artist. I also discovered for myself that Nikolai Vasilievich’s penchant for the absurd was not completely unlike my own. This was a meaningful realization that put the author of ‘Dead Souls’ right among my idols. After I received the invitation from JUMP to exhibit my work in Poltava I googled the city. The googling lead me straight to Gogol and all the chips fell into place – I knew I was about to enter a new chapter in my Gogol journey.”
Playful and interactive performances, irrational juxtapositions of elements, uncommon situations, humorous representations of social identities and the constant shift in the meaning of all that was once so familiar and mundane mark the latest exhibition of Adam Niklewicz, recently interviewed, which he invites the visitors to embrace “as an opportunity – an occasion to have a look at their heritage and at their human experience from a somewhat different perspective.”
TRAIL BLAZER, 2016
A lawn mower bearing the insignia of the gallery is used to cut a path into the lawn in front of the gallery. It is to signify the gallery’s aspirations of delivering new, cutting edge art into the conservative environment of the city. Opening attendees are encouraged to walk the trail, crossing to the other side.
Four young Ukrainian men wear Mexican lucha libre masks.
Works on display
HIPSTER, 2016, c-print
FIVE COLORS, 2016, c-print
SOFTCORE (CHIVES), 2016, c-print
THINKER, 2015, c-print
All images © Adam Niklewicz