David Jablonowski and Martin Maciejowski bring painting and sculpture to Newcastle's BALTIC

By Culture24 Reporter | 01 February 2013

Exhibition preview: David Jablonowski – Tools and Orientations; Martin Maciejowski, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, until June 2 2013

An image of a kind of pop-art painting of various figures in dresses and suits at openings
Martin Maciejowski, VIP I - XII (2008). Oil on canvas (10 canvasses)© Courtesy Marcin Maciejowski / Wilkinson Gallery, London
Having turned to painting to try and fathom the political and cultural face of post-Communist Poland, Martin Maciejowski took popular imagery as a sensible starting point – newspaper photos, stills from TV and films, posters and advertisements, sifted and categorised, then transferred to paintings in realist reimaginings of everyday life.

A photo of a silver angular sculpture protruding from the white wall of an art gallery
David Jablonowski, Future of the Document (Nastaleegh) 3 (2012). Anodised aluminium, acrylate, plastic sheet© Courtesy David Jablonowski / Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
Party-goers, military and religious figures, Hollywood heroes and film noir femme fatales take their place in 25 paintings here, often blurred to leave viewers deciphering their original meaning.

These are studies of the mundane rather than revolutionary. Overwhelmed by the Great Tradition of the City, from 2008, and Girl Drinking Beer, from 2009, forget traditional painterly traditions, instead relaying contemporary moods and stories.

In his first UK solo exhibition, meanwhile, the German artist David Jablonowski considers the history of technology through installations, videos and huge sculptures. So the nobly-named Gesterner Rotary Cyclostyle stencil machine stands alongside a Canon inkjet printer, and the pioneers responsible for the mouse and the hyperlink are portrayed in films.

Last year’s work, Volume, is a particular neck-craner: three large rectangular blocks seem to resemble slabs of stone, but are actually Styrofoam, carved, weathered and inlaid with lengths of aluminium.

Jablonowski often uses found texts and video footage to explore language. Examples from two of his series – Future of the Document (Nastaleegh) and Imposition – rest on fragments of Arabic calligraphy and imagery from the Manesse Codex, a medieval songbook from early 14th century Zurich.

  • Open 10am-6pm (10.30am-6pm Tuesday). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @balticmill.

More pictures:

A photo of a pop-art painting of a young girl next to words describing her as demanding
Martin Maciejowski, She did Whatever she Wanted (2011). Oil on canvas© Courtesy Marcin Maciejowski / Wilkinson Gallery, London
A photo of several large white sculpted slabs inside a large white-walled art gallery
David Jablonowski, User (installation view, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam) (2012)© Courtesy David Jablonowski / Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
An image of a painting taken from a photo of a man in a blue suit surrounded by crowds
Martin Maciejowski, Akhalgari (2009). Oil on canvas© Courtesy Marcin Maciejowski / Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, Paris and Salzburg
A photo of bits of yellow and red scattered across reflective plates inside an art gallery
David Jablonowski, Multiple (Gestetner) 1.78:1 (2011). Glass, fibre reinforced plasterboard, offset printing plates, foil, Gestetner Rotary Cyclostyle No. 6 stencil machine, Canon IP 2700 printer, red chilli, red chilli powder, laurel, star anise, pepper, nutmeg, curcuma, curry, led lights© Courtesy David Jablonowski / Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
An image of a picture of a young girl holding a bottle of beer in a picture-turned-painting
Martin Maciejowski, Girl Drinking Beer (2009). Oil on canvas© Courtesy Marcin Maciejowski / Meyer Kainer Gallery, Vienna
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