Conceptual art by Adam Niklewicz
The works of Polish-born American artist Adam Niklewicz, ranging from conceptual sculpture and photography to installation and video, focus on the decontextualization, often in a playful and humorous way, of familiar objects, turning the ordinary into a surprising artistic result, with a powerful visual impact.
A major influence is his identity-nationality relationship, as the artist mixes the visual vocabulary of his Polish childhood with the American pop-cultural and commercial iconography.
His interventions influence the functionality of the objects, sometimes limiting their practicality, changing their meaning by juxtaposing, removing or adding elements. We have, for example, a chair, designed for stability, that becomes quite the opposite when adding four balls as its main support. In his rich imagination, a chair is used to also create a temporary well of thoughts, while plastic coat hangers stand as a skeletal structure to raise awareness of the dangerous working conditions within the garment industry.
These seemingly absurd situations, as they are represented by the artist, follow a logic that makes more sense than would appear at first sight. Therefore, we are in front of a thoughtful approach, that enables the discovery of new ways to see and perceive reality, human character and behavior.
RIGOROUS, 2014 / boxing gloves, jars, 12” x 9” x 6”
UNTITLED, 2013 / balls, chair, 48” x 24” x 24”
THINKER, 2010 / mixed media and pure water, 38” x 24” x 21”
DIVER, 2006 / bees, 30 inches tall
‘This is a hanging sculpture of a deep-sea (deep-see) diver made entirely out of dead bees. It is but a small part of the installation THE BALLAD OF THE TWIN BEEKEEPERS, 2006.’
Detail from the installation THE BALLAD OF THE TWIN BEEKEEPERS, 2006.
TRAVELER, 2009 / giclée print, 16” x 24”
‘NEW YORK, NY (Reuters) – Prosecutors say a traveler tried smuggling songbirds into the United States by strapping more than a dozen birds to his legs and trying to walk out of New York’s Kennedy Airport.
The U.S. attorney’s office says the passenger, whose identity was not revealed, was held over for inspection at the airport when he returned from Poland earlier this month. Prosecutors say he had bird feathers and droppings on his socks, and birds’ tail feathers peeking out from under his pants.’
SKELETON OF THE GARMENT INDUSTRY MONSTER, 2013, 255 plastic coat hangers, 84” x 72”
‘The work is meant to raise awareness of the dangerous working conditions within the garment industry. It exposes the pyramid-like structure, where few at the top profit by exploiting the vast majority at the bottom. The 2013 deadly incident at a Bangladeshi garment-factory renders the issue beyond acute.
The rotating arrangement of cheap plastic coat hangers reflects the makeshift, hurried structure of the industry.
The work aspires to inform everyday shopping decisions of the Westerners, and stems from the premise that more discriminate and less opportunistic shopping can, in the long run, bring about a more balanced arrangement within this globalized industry.’
THE CHARTER OAK, 2012 / brick wall, sealant, water / 30 feet X 45 feet
Public art project co-commissioned by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Real Art Ways and the city of Hartford, CT, USA.
‘Image of a tree emerges from a seemingly blank brick wall after it is sprinkled with water. The image starts blending back with the wall as the brick wall dries up (when it rains – the tree remains constantly present).’
LIKE A ROLLING STONE, 2013 / performative sculpture, paper mache, plaster, paint, rotating device, headgear, 20” in diameter
‘A sphere (with a head painted on it) is placed over the head of a performer. The performer walks repeatedly around the room staying close to the wall. The oversized head is lightly pushed against the wall at all times to create enough traction for the sphere to rotate around its axis. As the performer walks – the head spins.
The spherical head is made out of a sturdy, light material, and a simple circular apparatus (involving tiny wheels) is attached to the head of the performer. This allows for a seamless rotation of the sphere (when in moving contact with the wall).’
All images © Adam Niklewicz
More info on his website.