Whitechapel Gallery, London, 14th October 2011-1st January 2012
Wilhelm Sasnal isn’t a very good painter and his subject matter is trite, shallow and random, so there is a certain inevitability in the fact that he is popular with Sadie Coles and has been given a major exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery. The public gallery in service of driving up value for the private art market again. Apparently Sasnal couldn’t think of a name for his exhibition, either. The publicity /poster/book cover image for the show is Sasnal’s flat, spiritless and defiantly unrevelatory copy of ‘Bathers at Asnières’. Georges Suerat already painted that, mate, over a hundred years ago. His one is nicer. No need to do it again.
I’ve asked before and I ask again, semi-rhetorically: why is Wilhelm Sasnal, who directly and uncreatively copies paintings and photographs, a fine artist with art world imprimatur… but Bob Dylan is ridiculed for doing the same (albeit without it impacting his sales or gallery representation much), and the Chinese hacks who directly, uncreatively copy paintings and photographs at Dafen painting village (for example) aren’t regarded as fine artists at all?