Adam Niklewicz arrived in the United States in the 1980’s, seeking refuge from martial law in Poland. Much of Niklewicz’s work is informed by the dislocation he feels as a Polish-born American.
While he has developed a body of work that is varied in material and formal terms, it is unified in its lyricism and sense of loss, and in its obsession with the impossible project of reconciling past and present. His work evokes not homeland, but rather the absurdity of nostalgia, the futility of trying to be in any place other than the liminal space of the prefixed-American.
Neither fully Polish nor fully American, Niklewicz creates work that is ultimately about the folly of romanticizing a past that no longer exists. Niklewicz’s piece Romantycznosc, a piece of Polish sausage carved into a flute upon which a musician, commissioned by the artist, plays a Polonaise, brings together two emblems of Polish culture, one culinary and one musical, in an absurd collision where nostalgia, self awareness, and the Romantic are all equal causalities.
The Cartin Collection