Rudolf Polanszky: Hypotetic / Gagosian Basel

“Hypotetic” at Gagosian Basel is an exhibition of new and recent paintings and sculptures by Austrian artist Rudolf Polanszky. It’s Polanszky’s first exhibition in Switzerland, and his second with the gallery. The solo show features paintings that further develop Polanszky’s Reconstructions series and sculptures where the artist translates the rough-hewn edges of the repurposed materials he uses into three dimensions.

Rudolf Polanszky: Hypotetic / Gagosian Basel. Basel (Switzerland), September 17, 2020.

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From the press release: “A key player in the Vienna art scene, Polanszky creates cerebral yet tactile works that embrace chance occurrence. In the early 1990s, Polanszky began examining the formal potential of sculpture and mixed-media painting with the series Reconstructions (1991–). To make these richly textured works, he uses salvaged industrial materials such as acrylic glass, aluminum, mirrored foil, resin, silicone, and wire, recombining them into purely aesthetic forms divorced from their original uses and contexts. Inspired by his father’s profession as a jazz musician, Polanszky’s process of “ad hoc synthesis” produces compositions that oscillate between concrete objects and symbols of subjective perception.

In this exhibition, Polanszky continues to evolve the Reconstructions by introducing copper foil into his material repertoire. Interspersed between fields of white corrugated cardboard and silvery aluminum, these gently creased, gleaming metal sheets add an entirely new tonal and textural dimension to the surface of each painting. Also on view are sculptures where Polanszky translates the rough-hewn edges of these repurposed materials into three dimensions. In two large freestanding sculptures, he shapes segments of flexible ribbed aluminum tubing into gently curving forms, while in a suite of smaller tabletop works, he deftly manipulates angular strips of metal and acrylic glass into dynamic abstractions.

Polanszky’s handling of material is intuitive and improvisational; he often leaves the raw components outdoors, letting the natural elements help determine the work’s final form. Yet the works in Hypotetic also reveal his acute consideration of the properties, idiosyncrasies, and possibilities of these materials. In Polanszky’s hands, industrial fragments are synthesized into shimmering tableaux that transcend their mundane origins. Rudolf

Polanszky was born in 1951 in Vienna, where he lives and works.”

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