The artistic practice of Marek Wolfryd (Ciudad de México, 1989) has as starting point the exploration of different formats and artistic media to explore the social, economic and artistic values of the objects and images that surround us, mainly in the middle of a context characterized by the overproduction of images and their excessive reproduction.
At first sight, the work of Wolfryd seems to be kind-of a dèjá vu. When one is looking at them, one can think: I have seen them before. You might recognize references to artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Rufino Tamayo, Jeff Koons, or even notice that some elements in his pieces looks like brand logos. But in some sense, Wolfryd plays with our gaze, but also with our memory. That is why his work is not as simple as it seems, instead it has different layers of signification. His paintings, installations or performances are themselves images and objects extremely well assemblage in which the act of interpretation—commonly related with the practice of seeing art—is overcome, and even denied, to unleash a series of visual and conceptual relationships that can reveal the cultural and economic operations of contemporary artistic and visual cultures.
If something is remembered when viewing Wolfryd’s work, it is perhaps the images sequence in Jean Luc Godard‘s The Image Book. If the French director uses hundreds of images from art, war, social movements and popular culture to question how our imaginary of the world is constructed, Marek uses, as Juan Pablo Ramos has said, “the history of Western art like an infinite catalog of shapes at his disposal”. Thus, the artist appropriates iconic images of art in a way that not only activates memory to lead the viewer to reflect on the forms and themes that have built the image of the world in the 20th century, but also highlights the way in which these images are reappropriated and reproduced as part of a system called “late capitalism”
Through artistic appropriation, Wolfryd discusses concepts that have haunted art, such as originality, reproducibility and authorship. In his pieces, images and objects are the protagonists above the author. He has been accused to imitate the practice of pioneer artists who has been work—before him— with imitation, appropriation or the fake reproduction of famous works, but this is precisely what his works pointed out: originality and authorship are artistic values that are part of a fiction that the art system has created to favor its commercial dynamics.
Who had the original idea for a urinal, a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, or a dog that appears to be made of balloons? Who belong images? Is it possible to keep talking on intellectual property when images are infinitely reproduced and transformed through social media? Where is the genius artist capable of shaping just by touching a thing with his finger? With a sense of humor that lies on the absurd, Wolfryd is both questioning this issues and pointed out a system that has fail in his intention to capitalize and privatize ideas.