- The Lenkiewicz Book Project
- Book For Sale
- Lenkiewicz: The Artist
- Early Work
- Themed Projects
- Project 1: Vagrancy
- Project 1a: Vagrancy
- Project 2: Death and the Maiden
- Project 3: Mental Handicap
- Project 4: Love and Romance
- Project 5: Love and Mediocrity
- Project 6: Paintings Designed to Make Money
- Project 7: Gossip on The Barbican
- Project 8: Jealousy
- Project 9: Orgasm
- Project 10: Self Portrait
- Project 11: Old Age
- Project 12: Suicide
- Project 13: Still Lives
- Project 14: The Painter With Mary
- Project 15: Death
- Project 16: Sexual Behaviour
- Project 17: Observations on Local Education
- Project 18: The Painter With Women
- Project 19: Landscape
- Project 20: Addictive Behaviour
- Project 21: Paintings Painted Blind - On The Theme Of Tobit
- Project 22: Still Lives II
- Project 23: Time
- Project 24: The Harrowing of Hell
- Non-Project Work
- Style and Technique
- Popular Sitters
- Lenkiewicz: The Book Collector
- Lenkiewicz: The Philanthropist
- Lenkiewicz: The Writer
- Personal Memoirs
- a childs-eye view of lenkiewicz
Project 18: The Painter With Women
The following brief explanation was contained in the booklet produced to accompany a Retrospective of Lenkiewicz's work in 1997.
"Reflection does not concern itself with objects themselves with a view to deriving concepts from them directly, but it is the state of mind in which we first set ourselves to discover the subjective conditions under which we are able to arrive at concepts." Kant.
"In every relationship there are a minimum of six people... you; the person talking to you; the person you think you are; the person you think they are; the person they think they are and the person they think you are." Voltaire.
Lenkiewicz agreed to show three introductory sketch shows between 1990-1992 at two consecutive galleries managed by Francis Mallet on The Barbican. The fuller and articulated collection was presented at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham in 1994. The project received a great deal of attention, little of it intelligent. The three smaller exhibitions introduced some ideas paralleling the theme of the 'mirror' with that of the 'companion'. Lenkiewicz notes:
"Philosophers have been fascinated by (the formula of the reflection) for centuries. After Descartes we move away from straight forward considerations of objects towards the 'experience' in which objects are given. Self-reflection marks the human beings' rise to the rank of a subject . . . Narcissus is the first artist/man transfixed by a reflection. This project suggested that the 'other' is always oneself. Narcissus simply did not know that the watery reflection was his own; he wasted away in a reverie imagining that the object of his desire was outside himself."
The Exhibition took as its starting point the metaphor of 'The Folly of Wise Men'. The first of the three formulas the story of Aristotle and Phyllis, has nothing to do with the historical Aristotle. It originated as a piece of Medieval libel, a misogynistic formula for Passion riding Reason. The second of the formulas used the theme of 'The Temptation of St. Antony'. The life history of St. Antony, the Abbot of the Desert so often waylaid by devils and diabolical visions, frequently warns against the 'power of women'. He is an example of incorruptibility, resisting the 'great dust cloud of argument' that the enemy raises in his mind.
These images deal with wisdom and folly. Lenkiewicz uses the formulae as metaphors for the absurdity of regarding relationships beyond their aesthetic value. He writes:
"These formulae are so loaded and cross-referential that the visitor also must resist temptation. The work can be misunderstood. 'Patterns' of obsessive behaviour are what interest me - the form not the content."
Lenkiewicz's contention is that our attraction to people, objects, ideas, and belief systems are rooted in a common physiological impulse stemming from an entire aesthetic matrix.
"The assumption that we are empathic/concerned about the welfare of another person independently of our own needs, is like St. Antony's visions, hallucinatory."
The concept of the 'Double' is helpful here. Mirrors are abysses. As Lenkiewicz has written in one of his note books:
"To paint oneself is to paint the portrait of a man who is going to die. Relationships are mirrors. The painter looks into the mirror to paint himself; the lover looks into his lover to love himself. She sits on my lap, a reflection of my aesthetic addictions; a reflection in a reflection. The painter reflects upon the reflection. The woman reflects upon the painter reflected. I am thinking of your partner, Priest, or your spouse, Art Historian, and you, the one holding this catalogue with good humour or with irritation. I am thinking of 'that' person, you know the one. They could all be on my lap in these paintings. I am no longer young, less fit than I was and I still mean what I say. It is not me that annoys or threatens. It is the knowledge in the heads of my companions (my companions in arms), my doubles. And if your smile of recognition, your smile of humane resignation is the smile I hope it is; then you are my double too."