Rudolf Polanszky: Coincidence as strategy

Intro Polansky

Although it makes no difference to him, Rudolf Polanszky’s works have been in great demand on the art market, particularly since the retrospective “Translinear Structures” presented by Zeit Kunst Niederösterreich in 2015, and the “Eidola” exhibition at the Vienna Secession in 2018. A piece from 2006 is coming up for sale at Dorotheum.

Born in Vienna in 1951, Rudolf Polanszky gained prominence in the 1970s with works such as “Lard Drawings” (1976) and the Super 8 film “On a Semiology of the Senses” (1978). Loss of control as an artistic method was his motto even then. In the 1980s, he created “Sleep Pictures” (1983), in which the slumbering artist’s movements were recorded with drawing tools mounted on his overall, and “Coil Spring Drawings” (1983–1985), for which Polanszky bounced on a metal spring through a paper-lined room creating haphazard traces of paint.

Rudolf Polanszky, Reconstructions, 2006 Acrylglas, Harz, Farbe, Aluminium, verschiedene Materialien auf Molino, mit weiß gestrichener Holzleiste gebördelt, 140 x 120 cm Schätzwert € 35.000 – 60.000
Rudolf Polanszky, Reconstructions, 2006,  acrylic glass, resin, paint, aluminium, various materials on molino, crimped with a wooden strip painted white, 140 x 120 cm
etimate € 35,000 – 60,000

Since the 1990s, Polanszky has preferred to reuse industrial materials emptied of their original meaning and put together to form unknown new structures and assemblages. He uses a method he calls “ad hoc synthesis”, collecting elements of different materials such as aluminium, mirror foil or acrylic glass, then leaving them to weather in order to combine them and create new structures. With the means that art provides, he aims to break up prefabricated ideas and subvert the chimeras of rationality and meaningfulness so as to allow new things to arise through a play with chance. “My work is an attempt to rearrange and change the equivalents of imagined patterns and to reorganise the structures of my thinking”, says the artist about his approach.

Franz West vor seinem Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow mit einem der sechs Passstücke. Die vorliegende Arbeit von Polanszky war eine Anzahlung für das Auto. © Foto: Jens Preusse; © Archiv Franz West; © Estate Franz West
Franz West in front of his Rolls Royce Silver Shadow with one of his 6 Adaptives for Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.
The present work by Polanszky was a down payment for the car © Photo: Jens Preusse; © Archiv Franz West; © Estate Franz West

The present work belongs to a group of works called Reconstructions. A note on the reverse in the artist’s hand says, “for the Shadow”, which reportedly refers to Franz West’s Silver Shadow Rolls-Royce. Apparently, the picture was the down payment for it. Rudolf Polanszky and Franz West were friends from the 1970s onwards and they worked together on a number of art projects. 


Elke Königseder,
specialist in modern and contemporary art 


Contemporary Art I , 1 December 2021, 6 pm
Palais Dorotheum, Dorotheergasse 17, 1010 Vienna
Tel. +43-1-515 60-358, 386

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