Piotr Lakomy / Room Temperature
30 September - 5 November 2016
The Sunday Painter
1st Floor 12-16 Blenheim Grove
London, SE15 4QL
Some thirty inches from my nose
The frontier of my Person goes,
And all the untilled air between
Is private pagus or demesne.
Postscriptum from “Prologue: The Birth of Architecture” by W. H. Auden
Piotr Lakomy’s work engages with human scale, and its relationship to objects and architecture. Reflecting on our connections with our surroundings, his sculptures might be described as ruined monuments to these conflicting relationships. Whilst they are seemingly devoid of a human presence, there remains a subtle anthropometric quality to his compositions. In Room Temperature a nest made of aluminium mesh insulation coated with bees wax hangs from the ceiling. It once contained a human body lying on its side, with the head supported on an outstretched arm. The body leaves an empty space within the structure, as empty as the cells of aluminium grid of which the nest is made.
Flat aluminium honeycomb cores found hanging on the walls are made of ultra-modern material widely used in aerospace, construction, architectural, energy, marine and rail industries. Contrary to the rules of their industrial application they have been stretched on painting frames; instead of specialized tools a human hand has been used. Experimenting with carefully selected materials, developing their properties far beyond those planned by the producers, Lakomy adjusts the scale of objects, via stretching, compressing, melting, dissolving, applying layers of wax or isolating with foam, while deriving all measurements from Le Corbusier’s The Modulor. A juxtaposition between the natural and the man made can also be found in the smothering of high tech aluminium honeycomb with beeswax.
The landscape on the surface of these “paintings” is outlined by the arrangement of empty aluminium honeycomb cells. There is no privileged location from which to view them. The careful deformations and empty spaces are brought out by the viewer, getting close or moving away in different directions, working within the space around the object. Maps made of torn body bags work in a similar way. Their outline resembles a plan of an apartment, minus any detailing of the space or the use of individual rooms. The irregular surfaces of the body bags go beyond that flat plan, while egg shells, once protective vessels filled with the warmth of a living being, are bound with them permanently. This atmosphere of protection and encasement is furthered through obscuring the main source of natural light with Vaseline.
Lakomy has worked across all aspects of the gallery’s architecture; the pole and the nest define the axis of the building, while mesh “paintings” and maps, made from body bags, frame and cover the gallery walls, but also extend further. Each of the adjacent and surrounding buildings designed for any human activity, exists in a way indicated by the work presented here, as the absences within the show relate to the free spaces contained in any other populated place. The role of these works is to highlight the sense of absence, of which every cubic centimeter becomes animated by the body heat of each person present in the exhibition space.
Text by Kuba Bak