Wilhelm Sasnal’s paintings question the way people identify themselves in relation to consumer culture. His work references wartime propaganda, fashion, design, and the history of art. Sasnal came of age in Poland during the fall of the Soviet Bloc, as millions of Eastern Europeans had to struggle with social, political, and economic turmoil. As such, Sasnal’s work presents an uncertain relationship to the past and present. The pop singers Peaches, Dominika Stara, and Sasnal’s wife Anka, are rendered in his Smoking Girls series in the style of rebellious youths from late Eastern European films: sexy, desirable, and inherently politicized.
Sasnal’s work has been exhibited internationally in Europe, Latin America, the United States, and East Asia. He was a 2005 fellow at the Chinati Foundation and his work has been included in Biennials in Berlin, Prague, and São Paolo. He has been included in exhibitions at major public institutions, including MoMA, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Stedelijk Museum, and his art is in many significant public collections worldwide.