Engaging with Lenkiewicz’s thoughts and philosophy

Home Forums Lenkiewicz – influences and philosophy Engaging with Lenkiewicz’s thoughts and philosophy

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Francis 15 years, 5 months ago. This post has been viewed 463 times

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #5717

    Site Admin

    The following was originally posted as part of a reply to a discussion elsewhere on this forum. It raises some issues that I thought were deserving of a new topic:

    joe90 wrote:
    During his life, Lenkiewicz was less concerned about high or low art issues and more concerned about the philosophical questions expressed in his various projects. While he took pleasure over the technical aspects of a painting, the result was simply a medium for deeper message (Unless it was one of the later ‘girlie’ knock-outs, and you didn’t have to look far there). One didn’t come to a project exhibition to view paintings so much as to be presented with the results of a period of sociological enquiry. The projects were designed to comment upon and raise awareness of prevailing cultural ethics and practices, and if possible to challenge and change perceptions of these. Lenkiewicz wanted people to think about and to engage with the issues he was drawing attention to.

    All too rarely on this site are these aspects of Lenkiewicz’s work highlighted, and when questions arise that do require engagement with Lenkiewicz’s ideas they are generally ignored.

    If the ‘fans’ cannot even make the effort to critically engage with Lenkiewicz’s thoughts and philosophy and to debate them, then why should they expect the wider public, the art world, and the funding bodies to take an interest in him and value his work?



    Whilst I agree with much of what Joe 90 says, I am wary of the paintings versus books/philosophy division. Certainly Robert often described himself as a sociological enquirer and presenter of information but this does not mean the paintings are merely a means to an end. To conclude that the purpose of seeing the exhibitions was more to “to be presented with the results of a period of sociological enquiry” rather than “viewing paintings” does the artist a grave injustice. It’s rather similar to claimimg that the purpose of reading Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain is mainly to get up to date with trends in German turn-of-the-century philosophy. Or maybe more pointedly listening to Wagner or Mahler for the same reason. Serious art always contains a quality which is imposssible to pin down to mere ideas or “messages”, when it becomes didactic (think of the hollowness of political art). Robert’s best work is genuinely moving in its humanity. I was always struck by the response of people who had little previous interest in painting on entering the cavernous studio. They may not have immediately grasped the theory of aesthetic fascism but subconsciously they recognised that here was someone telling them something significant about their own lives and the society they live in. This power to communicate through art has largely been lost.



    To conclude that the purpose of seeing the exhibitions was more “to be presented with the results of a period of sociological enquiry” rather than “viewing paitings” does the artist a grave injustice.

    I take your point entirely Francis, and agree that I have underscored the sociological study aspects of Robert´s work at the expense of the painting, but please understand the argument in the wider context of the original message rather than the edited version presented in this thread. The wider argument pleas for the need for people to actively think about and debate the project work and its underlying philosophy, and the survival of the remaining books (as well as the paintings), as the project ideas and books seem to be in a very real danger of being forgotten amongst the current interest in painting auction prices and the costs of the prints.



    Yes, again I agree. I just don’t wouldn’t like to see a paintings versus books attitude encouraged. There needs to be a subtle balance struck between the two. I guess The Foundation share this view. After all, if Robert had been solely a book collector, rather than an outstanding artist who compiled a unique library, not many people would probably be that interested.

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.