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The Review - FEATURE
Published: 7 May 2009
Lincoln Eagle, by Wolfe von Lenkiewicz
Lincoln Eagle, by Wolfe von Lenkiewicz
Journeying through a Lenkiewicz imagination

I load the gun, and let you pull the trigger,” says Wolfe von Lenkiewicz as we stare at Paradise Lost, his giant mural of Adam and Eve riding on the back of a Stegosaurus as they are watched by one of the most demonic looking Archangel Gabriel’s in Christendom.
It’s obvious the son of the late controversial artist Robert Lenkiewicz thrives on ambiguity, and what can be more ambiguous than dinosaurs and the children of Eden vying for space on canvas?
“You can imagine an Evangelical church saying ‘We must have it’ but equally Richard Dawkins would probably have fun with it,” is his sitting-on-the-fence estimation of the eye­-catching work.
The 80 or so pieces in his latest exhibition, The Descent of Man, held in the magnificent surroundings of the former landmark bank designed by Arthur Beresford Pite at 1 Meldon Street, by Euston Station, take you on a journey through Lenkie­wicz’s extraordinary imagination. Religion, creationism, mythology and science shape the landscape of his anarchic works. You’d expect nothing less from a philosopher-turned-artist who cites Ludwig Wittgenstein as his formative influence.
Among the highlights are Lincoln Eagle (pictured), a plane crashing into a throned Abraham Lincoln, himself perched on a Jesus-headed eagle; Island – an oil rig under attack from another dinosaur (snapped up by Bono’s manager as a present for the U2 frontman); and The Fairy Queen, Queen Elizabeth I on the body of a skeleton fairy mounted on a crown – itself bought the night before the opening by Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess Diana.
Comparisons with his father are never far from the mind. They could both be classed as iconoclasts, and share an equal fascination with absurdist imagery. What would he have made of his son’s works?
“Well he never really saw my art because I was only starting out when he died,” he said wistfully. “But I think he would have liked it. I looked up to my father immensely, he taught me everything I know about art. He sometimes said the wrong things and there’s no doubt women were his downfall but he was a very impressive man and that is what I will remember.”
For all the bluster that will undoubtedly surround Descent of Man, the cliché rings true: it has to be seen to be believed.
Wolfe von Lenkiewicz: The Descent of Man,
1 Melton Street, Euston, NW1, until May 31

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The Lenkiewicz exhibition is stunning from the remarkable St Eustace sculpture to the drawings featuring unicorns, tigers and Elvis! The skeletons and skulls were my particular favourite along with the octopus drowning the Titanic. The surroundings are fabulous; the Pite architecture lends itself so well to the mood. I admit I have a particular fondness for
the building having worked there for 26 years.
J. Trend-Hill
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