Apolonia SOKOL I GALERIE DUTKO Bonaparte

October 14, 2016 - November 12, 2016



And although it’s always crowded,
you still can find some room.
Where broken hearted lovers
do cry away their gloom.
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (1956)

Apolonia Sokol’s paintings borrow from both past and present. She paints contemporary life, capturing the presence, faces and movements of friends, lovers and strangers. Her portraits combine historical references (from prehistorical times to today) and personal photographs (generally Polaroids) or images taken from Facebook and Instagram. This leads to different forms of interference. Munch makes an appearance alongside Hilma af Klint. Balthus is juxtaposed with a tarot card drawing. Whitney Houston crosses paths with Hokusai, while Victor Brauner collides with Leonardo da Vinci and Tamara de Lempicka. Sokol mixes different genres, from classical painting to pop music, creating a cross-disciplinary and fragmented approach to figurative art. As a result of her subjects and their portrayal, her works create tension and complexity, which are inherent to the gaze of the other, opposition and human relationships. Her life-size portraits are like a physical confrontation. Figures float in indeterminate times and places, with their eyes open – and fixed on viewers – or closed. Sokol seems to oscillate between different states. Each portrait contains a range of emotions situated between two extremes – past and present, life and death, private and public, fascination and revulsion, fantasy and fear, and intimacy and voyeurism. Using these existential dichotomies as a source of inspiration, the artist explores a zone where discomfort and seduction coexist, attract and repulse.

Sokol’s most recent works explore history and the representation of women: muses, models, witches, saints, lovers, goddesses, adolescents and queens. Her portraits depict women who are feminine, masculine, androgynous, alone, in relationships, lascivious or masked. They combine individual and collective histories. As Sokol paints Lilith, Medusa, Saint Agatha and Salome, she breaks down different times, myths, cultures and religions, to create a syncretic form of art. While quotations and associations are common practices in painting, Sokol uses these sources to create a style that I consider marginal and radical. While her figures are neither overly exuberant nor provocative, their indifferent and powerful attitudes express a radiant insolence.

Julie Crenn