Piotr Łakomy’s “Combined Vessels”

Ewa Borysiewicz

May 28, 2021
Galeria Stereo, Warsaw
May 8–June 12, 2021

Piotr Łakomy’s work reconsiders the classical idea of the human figure as model of good proportion. Recent events have proved beyond any lingering doubt that man is in fact not the measure of all things, and the Polish artist’s latest exhibition focuses on feedback loops between human and nonhuman agents as one alternative source of aesthetic form. Łakomy’s presentation of painting-like sculptures and sculpture-like paintings, composed of both organic and inorganic matter, hints at a possible way out of the nature-culture dichotomy.

Łakomy’s points of departure are Le Corbusier and Frederick Kiesler, whose contrasting architectural theories outline the field of his investigations. Le Corbusier’s insistence on rational principles provides Łakomy’s works with their basic structure; Kiesler’s emphasis on fluidity is reflected in the versatile and unpredictable character of the fabrics with which he fills his frames. Best known for his careful, minimalist sculptures, Łakomy has recently gravitated towards an even more ascetic style, reflected in his new sculptures’ nearly two-dimensional design and unified formats. The majority hang with their upper edge 140cm above the ground (the height is conceived to meet the eyeline of the body according to which Le Corbusier’s scale, the Modulor, was devised), creating a unified, frieze-like composition stretched along the white gallery walls. The color scheme is limited to quiet gray and dim earthy hues, allowing the viewer to attend to the works’ internal dynamics and physical presence: the subtle—and sometimes unruly—interactions and transformations of their elements.

Both the “vessels” and “gardens”—the two distinct groups of assemblages presented in Warsaw—are constructed according to a single core principle, which nonetheless allows for an enormous number of variants. In the case of the rectangular Vessel #5 (2020), a back plate, built out of the body of a dismantled polycarbonate suitcase, provides a frame for sheets of honeycomb aluminum. Łakomy has stretched this light yet resistant fabric to cover the piece like an ersatz skin. The dusty silver wrapping creates irregular folds, spilling over the borders marked by the valise’s ribs. The metallic composition is finished with a different kind of vessel: a cream-white ostrich egg, attached to the lower edge of the work. This polished oval product of nature mimics an item of industrial provenance.

The fragile frontier between nature and artifice is explored further in a trio of works borrowing inspiration from Kiesler’s concept of the “endless house”—a utopian, biomorphic structure, relying on plasticity and connectivity instead of Euclidean geometry and classical proportion. These square-shaped “gardens” elegantly epitomize the interplay of chaos and order. Bone Garden (2021) is another assemblage of eggshells set within a membrane—a thin layer of honeycomb aluminum—but its composition is light, half-transparent, resembling a desert landscape. Acting in a quasi-sentient manner (as if following Kiesler’s guidelines), the work seems to ignore its wooden frame and overflow its designated borders.

One Size Fits All (2020) differs significantly from the other pieces on show. The combination of its formal architecture (again deriving from Le Corbusier’s anthropometric ideal) with a metallic covering and ostrich eggs results in an ashen-colored, nightmarish, Lovecraftian spectacle. Hung above the visitor’s head, its presence in the gallery space is more menacing than welcoming. As such, the sculpture not only introduces Łakomy’s “gardens” and “vessels,” but anticipates the new paradigms of our uncertain futures.

Architecture, Modernism, Sculpture

Ewa Borysiewicz is a freelance curator and writer based in Warsaw and Basel.

RSVP for Piotr Łakomy’s “Combined Vessels”
Galeria Stereo
May 28, 2021

Thank you for your RSVP.

Galeria Stereo will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.