image text special shop

'Precious and Tender' by Joanna Woś at Croy Nielsen, Vienna

We are pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Vienna-based, Polish painter Joan- na Woś.

Woś’ somber canvases probe themes of sexuality and power dynamics in a distinctively dream-like style, informed by the rich, if obscure, symbolism found in historical painting traditions. By blending numerous perspectives and spatial grounds into one, the artist depicts agonizing female protagonists caught in numerous parallel psychological realities. Each spectrally figurative scene appears rich in both affective information and narrative drama, yet lingers wistfully in aesthetic ambiguity and ambivalence.

The central inspiration of the exhibition is The Romance of the Rose, a medieval poem purporting to disclose the art of romantic love. Structured as a psychological allegory, the story unfolds as a courtier’s dream vision attempting to woo a woman. Ripe with sexual symbolism of the rose, as well as promulgations of misogynist violence, the text has remained popular as well as controversial since its creation, constituting a prime early example of chivalric romance and the dramatization of love affairs.

Continuing the hazy allegorical logic of The Romance of the Rose, Woś’s paintings in the exhibition depict scenes of sexual exchange that tilt uncomfortably between pleasure and pain. Here, desire and longing are bewildered by abuse, or psychologically interjected by toxic family and group dynamics. The result is a deep sense of disorientation and estrangement, a situation not to be trusted. Failing to offer any clear answers, Wo¬ instead portrays the profound power of sex: its manipulative, dangerous, and even fatal capacities; but also, its relationship to love, to affection. 

Painting in a grisaille style and employing distinctively thin layers of oil, Woś’s dream-like scenes bring to mind the erotically charged paintings of the 20th-century brother-painters Pierre Klossowski and Balthus. The notable inversion is, of course, the female figure not as a fetishized sexual object but as a conflicted subject—ridden with libidinal and moral uncertainty. Created with reference to scenes from porn films, as well as religious compositions from the Catholic tradition, Wo¬ presents these self-consciously kitsch juxtapositions with a kind of dry wittiness that borders on actual irony: sex as a hopelessly banal motif, yet one that still demands deconstruction. 

— Jeppe Ugelvig

24.3.22 — 30.4.22

Croy Nielsen

'Ruderal' by James Lewis at Nir Altman, Munich

'Klammern aus denen Blätter Spriessen', Group Show at Scherben, Berlin

Jonathan Santoro and Anoushé Shojae-Chaghorvand at Squat Soirée, Philadelphia

4 x 4 by ARCHIVARIUS x Acid Racer, 2022

'Glücksspiel, Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard' by Jacent at sonneundsolche, Dussel

'Häagen-Dazs' by Rasmus Røhling at C.C.C., Copenhagen

'ᘜᑌᗰ:ᔕᑕᗩᒪᗴ', Group Show Curated by Anna Frost at Jack Chiles, New York

'After petal fall spray' by Sol Hashemi at Veronica, Seattle

'Lunatique' by Ernst Yohji Jaeger at Crèvecœur, Paris

'Sour Well', Group Show at Nir Altman, Munich

'Force Majeure' by Aaron McLaughlin at Loods-6, Amsterdam

'Crowd Control', Group Project by Arcadia Missa x High Art, Arles

'Rain Calling' by Lito Kattou at Tranen, Gentofte

'And Darkness the Right Hand of Light', Group Show at MELK

'Don’t Say I Didn’t Say So', Group Project at Kunstverein Bielefeld, Bielefeld

'Memorial Universe!' by Ella Rose Flood at Jargon Projects, Chicago

'Полынь' by Zukhra Salakhova at Plague Space, Krasnodar

'Hamra' by Monia Ben Hamouda at Ariel – Feminisms in the Aesthetics, Copenhagen

Next Page