Wolfe Von Lenkiewicz


Written by James Read
18 Wednesday 18th May 2011


Set Thine House in Order

In previous work you've dissociated form and content with tragic renaissance illustrations of modern subjects like Elvis and the twin towers, and your current work places Rupert's friend Billy Badger on a magic carpet with a Hindu god, and Snow White with a Honda Asimo robot. What is your motivation behind reappropriating and juxtaposing these images?

Images of Samson pulling down the Twin Towers are meant to open up possible interpretations but not anchor the viewer into a definitive and correct interpretation. The jihad holy war and tearing down the two pillars of the temple – the images are loaded with potential readings. Snow White and Science may also be read both as fairy tales of scientific dreams of finding “reality’ by attempting vainly to look at the world in profile or Snow White being awaken from her eternal death. Alternatively it may be read another way I have never intended and this is equally valid. My motivation here is to explore just as Rupert the Bear does outside of the little village of Nut Wood and find amazing things as in Leonardo da Vinci’s story of the amazing discoveries found within a dark cave through perseverance and curiosity.

All in the Afternoon, Full Leisurely we Glide

Lately you have absorbed both Picasso, and his oft-recreated Guernica, and Alice in Wonderland - also a familiar text for visual representations - why did you choose to use these?        

I am very concerned to finish the works of Picasso. I feel they are not adequately finished. Of course this will take an age well beyond my own life span, as there is no finishing line. This is further endorsed by there being no start line either. It is just so satisfying when one enters the work into a new discourse especially when it involves his wives too.

Alice is an interloper and very curious. She is the perfect voyager to be sent out and would have stared through the telescope with Huygens at the rings of Saturn and questioned Obama on the grounds of proclaiming himself a sovereign being, outside of the law.

Salagrama and Billy Badger

You deal with myth throughout your work, challenging and satirizing it. What's your favorite myth, past or present?                  

My favourite myth is reality. The creation story told by science. A great fairytale worthy of settling comfortably side by side with the Abrahamic belief system. I must say that I still think it possible to send a rocket to the moon using Ptolemaic astronomy [which states that Earth is at the centre of the universe]. I think science is essentially instrumentalism and is much happier in this bracket now it has begun to shed this idea it is a mirror of truth.

Who is the Fairest One of All

If you weren't creating art, what field do you think you'd be in?

I would very much like to be a pilot especially of a zeppelin with a library on board and a crew of researches redeveloping and introducing degenerate systems of thought back into the contemporary use - such as Aristotle and witchcraft.


You use other people's characters, images and iconography throughout your work. Without their frames of reference, much of your works meaning would be lost. How do you feel about copyright and the idea of intellectual property?

In Derrida’s Limited Inc there is a very interesting debate between John Searle and Derrida regarding origins or foundations of meaning in our language. Derrida’s argument is that there’s no transparency from verbal “communication” to a fixed meaning anchored in the empirical. Finding the origin of a source in things is based on many misconceptions going back even to pre-Socratics. It is amusing how Derrida plays with the copyright sign at the end of Searle’s essay on truth - the irony of Searle having copyright on the notion of a discourse. The main point here is simply that Derrida’s position is that as soon as someone reads the text it ceases to be owned by the author.

Which is to be Master - That is All

Origins of events or meanings are not precise and even the contexts are shifting, allowing no clear view towards a place of ownership. In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas Kuhn later rewrote his appendix pointing out that paradigm shifts in science don’t occur overnight. It took a great deal of time for Copernicus’s system [that the Earth is not the centre of the universe] to be accepted and it was in turn borrowed partly from the Pythagorians (who suggested that the earth was not still but moving).

Did Priestly discover oxygen or was it Lavoisier and at what exact point did they own the discovery when both of them came to the idea from differing perspectives? There was no point of origin of the momentous discovery of oxygen. So going from this to art, it is not difficult to see the problem of the 'virgin birth'. Ideas are shared and not owned in any strict sense since they are created in contexts and not alone in some private language. The law, of course, can be seen as a more or less adequate way of demarking where something is owned or not. The demarcation is often made on the grounds of ownership but sometimes can be made in relation to concomitant ideas revealing a different perspective which is a practice I am engaged in. This differs a little from making an image which is essentially an illusion of singularity /a one way street which on closer inspection does not trace a direct line back to the individual but rather many routes into the context of the world we dwell in.


...Thanks Wolfe!

Wolfe Von Lenkiewicz's exhibition, I have an excellent idea: Let's Change the Subject will be on until 14 July 2011 at AVA For more information, and to see more of his work, visit www.allvisualarts.org

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