ADAM & ADAM (NIKLEWICZ) ARE IN FACT QUITE DIFFERENT: A SCULPTOR AND AN ILLUSTRATOR. THIS IS THE NARRATIVE OF THE TWO COMBINED.
JULIE JOHANNE SVENDSEN | ARTICULATE #21 | OCT 2019
The following is going to sound like a story taken from the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum, where all the world’s strange phenomenon and odd tales are showcased to the joy of children and their families. In reality it is a story you might first encounter in an art gallery. In reality you might even know it. It could be that we are the first to introduce you to it, and maybe one day you will experience it yourself when this particular story will manifest itself as an exhibition developed by the two main characters in this tale.
There are many people in this world who are named Adam. In return there are only three people who are named Adam and Niklewicz. The three Adam Niklewicz’es in the world today all originate from Poland. Two out of three Adam Niklewicz’es have chosen to emigrate from Poland to the US east coast. The Adam who still resides in Poland work as a fire fighter. The two others, who now live in the USA, both work with visual art. The one of them is an illustrator and the other is a sculptor.
This is interesting enough in itself. Adam and Adam have felt each other’s presence inside of the industry where one can easily assume that they have been mistaken for one another. Adam and Adam are in fact quite different: The one, the sculptor, is driven by the desire to expose the illusion of the world as a predictable, streamlined and sanitized place - an illusion that is uphold by the global cooperate system, which, to Adam, is antithetical to freedom.
The other Adam, the illustrator, is known to produce material to this exact corporate world in the sense of illustrations of annual reports, corporate in-house publications and corporate communications all together - although with a sharp view to his clients’ humanity and their underlaying motivating forces. Therefore, one could think that Adam and Adam don’t share more than their name, line of business and country code. But they do. Or maybe it would be more precise to say that their motifs do.
Adam, the illustrator, approaches his work with a “less is more” way of thinking, and often work with clean expressions that transform the otherwise quite complex mechanisms that he prefers to work with to something accessible. He is driven by solving puzzles, and one can regard the final piece as a manifestation of a decoded mystery that otherwise existed in the human condition. The motifs in Adam’s works arise with the assignments he is given by a client. In addition to illustrating and producing materials to the corporate world Adam’s repertoire also feature a long list of book and magazine covers. According to Adam it is liberating creatively speaking to be set a task, since this obstruction actually generates focus and structure for him.
Adam the sculptor finds his motifs when he is on the brink of sleep, meaning that from Adam’s point of view, it is in fact the motifs that find him. He saves the ideas he sees potential in and if they keep lingering in his mind after some time, he will put them into production. Adam always adjust the media to the respective idea that he wishes to put into life. This manifest itself as a portfolio consisting of pieces of all sorts of material and shapes. At times these works exists in two incarnations: Adam is quite fond of perfecting the photographs of his work in Photoshop, hence the work can exist as a physical sculpture and as conceptual photography. Sometimes the photograph will end up replacing the actual sculpture:” This happens when a carefully photographed and refined version makes the physical object look shabby by comparison. At that point, I’ve no choice but to dismantle the inferior looking object.” (Adam Niklewicz)
To two Adams have in common that they both ascribe great meaning to their first impulse. Adam, the illustrator, always tries to stay as close to his original, spontaneous thumbnail in his later compositions. These always end up naturally presenting good balance and composition. For Adam, the sculptor, the first impulse is usually also the best. According to him, the composition starts to fall apart as soon as you pay too much attention to it.
Adam Niklewicz and Adam Niklewicz are two quite different artists. They have different motivating forces, they use different materials and in fact, they have quite different expressions. It is in the intersection of these differences and similarities between the two, that something interesting seems to emerge.
As a beginning of a collaboration Adam and Adam have tried to pair their pre-existing works. They have done so by discovering common denominators in their works in terms of motif, colour or shape. What is truly interesting is how these works – albeit very different – manage to communicate with one another. With some of the pictures they have chosen to pair, one would assume that the one Adam has tried to continue the other Adam’s narrative. In other cases, it looks like they have worked with the same creative obstructions. The works are completed and whole but positioned next to each other in the sense of a collage, they manage to speak into one another, with each other and expand one another thus creating a space for completely new narratives, expressions and understandings.
Collages that are not constructed from a premise of common denominators in the sense of motif, colour or content, will typically create just as grand effects of continuation, new narratives or symbolics. In the case of Adam and Adam it is just as much their story containing elements of coincidence, improbability, dichotomies and compatibility, that constitutes the extra dimension of wondrousness present in their paired works. My first thought when I saw these works was that this must absolutely have been be a collaboration from the very beginning. Anything else would be too incredible.
The story of Adam and Adam contributes with something. Their art contribute with something – maybe it’s because magical coincidences yet happen to occur in our rational world. Maybe it is due to the fact that Adam and Adam’s story and art contribute with new ways to behold our world.
And maybe it is because it in reality seems so unlikely that this could even happen. Luckily, Adam and Adam intend to investigate further what exactly can arise in a collaboration between two artists with completely different practices, who just happen to share the same name.
This article about ADAM & ADAM takes part of the 5th anniversary magazine, ARTICULATE #21. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below