Slavny Zàvêr, 2008 Oil on canvas 72 x 62 cm

From the 8th of September to the 23rd of October 2010 –  Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder

In his paintings, Adam Adach draws on symbols and motifs from Polish history, which, like every narration, always makes reference to itself and its construction of reality. In a succession of layers painted over each other, which partially cover and partially uncover various aspects, there are flashes of so-called historical moments, remnants, remains of the past, which in the course of time are reinterpreted and used to serve other, often opposing, narrations.

Adam Adach’s paintings are full of ambiguities, their paradoxical constructions are unsettling. They give names to moments of critical transition in a religious, political, and temporal dimension as well as the impossibility of their portrayal. Adach uses graphic signs, triangles and five- or six-pointed stars, and stresses the subordinating character of symbols and the “migration” of their meanings between Jewish-Christian and political use – as the Star of David and the pink triangle. In the painting “Liberation” the red star is associated as a symbol of communism. Occupying its center, however, from which should emanate light and freedom, is a white question mark. In a photograph the red star is superimposed over the white statue of St. Francis of Assisi and releases a white dove from its center.

Birds and angels, their winged relatives, become invisible go-betweens, they infiltrate symbolism’s sphere of power and serve as mediators between the big narration on the one hand and the private micro-history on the other, between the first and last things, between life and death. The latter is expressed as something “sweet” in a photo series in which the brain from an anatomy class is packaged in a shiny candy wrapper or appears in a grid as a metallic-silver armored brain in the painting “Anna’s Brain” – a postmaterialist vanitas. Or is addressed in a video, shot by Adach in the wintertime in his neighborhood in Warsaw, of a grumpy old man feeding the pigeons shortly before his death.

The go-betweens could occupy the branches and branchings one could imagine seeing in the close-up of a tree. Three paintings entitled “Genealogy of One Day,” abstract compositions, clearly demonstrate the date of their creation, since with a conceptual gesture the painter introduces a certain, otherwise irrelevant and long-since forgotten day as a sliver of concretion and rhizomatically undermines the idea of genealogy and the family tree.

Other paintings touch historical remnants in a more ironic way, the emblematic nature of architecture is cited in the formal power of its symbolism and is, in equal measure, invalidated. Control post and bus stop along the Angarskyi Pass in the Crimean Mountains, a stopping point along what is still the longest trolleybus line in the world. A former Soviet model project dating back to the late fifties, it is now a Ukrainian winter sport tourist resort. The stretched half ellipse might, if there had been two of them, have anticipated the McDonald’s logo. Another painting, “Sonnet Krymea (Tatars’ Comeback)”, makes reference on the one hand to the “Crimean Sonnets” by the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855), on the other to the Crimean Tatars, a marauding folk feared for their legendary raids. They were deported to Central Asia by the Soviets during World War II and have been returning since 1989. There is something lyrical about Adach’s painting, but there are no little cubes in the vast expanse of the steppes. Perhaps they are allusions to houses as signs of a symbolic reoccupation because to date the Tatars still aren’t allowed to reclaim their old land. The tension Adam Adach creates between motif and work title becomes especially apparent in the piece “Horse Power,” a painting whose motif is revealed by a faint gesture: A nylon curtain was pressed onto the still wet surface, leaving behind barely discernible horse patterns. Thus here Adam Adach seeks, above all, to contrast the weight of history with a touch of lightness.

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