In his new paintings and woodcuts, Adam Saks (b. 1974) draws from the concepts of still life, allowing the picturesque to reflect the fragile existence of mankind. He reinterprets the classic symbols through a spectrum of dark and shadowed colors, to galactic and neon-colored shimmer in a sci-fi universe, imitating nature’s constant cycle of bloom and decay.
The exhibition’s title Dissolved refers to the decay of the surface and the dislocation of the motif, which in turn refer to the decomposing of nature and its sediment. Saks combines elements from contemporary life and pop culture with still life and Vanitas symbols: objects like knuckle duster, skeleton bones, ceramic objects and debris, are depicted next to ornamental petals of poppy with promises of ecstasy and oblivion in a kaleidoscopic universe.
In his new woodcuts, Saks uses specific elements from his paintings as new graphic constellations. Printed at Ateljé Larsen in Helsingborg, the woodcuts serve as a basic alphabet to the image structure that forms the narratives of the paintings.
Saks’ breakthrough came with his early-millennium watercolors and paintings with tattoo motifs, human figures and torsos situated in fragmented landscapes, depicting the brutality of Europe’s colonial past. His imagery is in the midst of figuration and abstraction and often holds ambiguous meanings. Theme and inspiration derive from different periods in art history and visual cultures, without any hierarchy between high and low culture, generating fascinating parallels and new meanings.
Saks graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and the Hochschule der Kunsten in Berlin. His work is represented in such prestigious collections as the National Gallery of Art in Denmark, ART Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, Malmö Konstmuseum and Nordiska Akvarellmuseet in Sweden, as well as Kiasma Museum of Contermporary Art in Finland.