“ Paul Sakoilsky has made performances and paintings as hybridised "autopsies" of media images, in visceral terms, that act upon the daylight utopias of consumerism and media ideology. His on-going project the dark times is a newspaper in the potlatch spirit, described in the terms of Jean Baudrillard's concept of hegemony, as an ultimate debasement of value.” Peter Lewis, 2011.
Born in 1964, Sakoilsky was brought up in the Far East and East Anglia, where he created his first performance art works. Obsessed by poetry, Sakoilsky came to London in 1982, where he played in bands, made experimental films/audio-works, wrote prolifically, and met the poet George Barker (then in his 70s), who briefly became a mentor. Sakoilsky organised poetry readings that evolved into performance pieces, and, from 1994 to 2002 was based at 30 Underwood St Gallery, Shoreditch, where he had a studio, performed and curated, whilst also studying at the radical Philosophy Department of the University of North London. In 1997, the Arts Council funded Sakoilsky to travel to Austria to co-curate the first UK exhibition of Hermann Nitsch. A defining body of autobiographical and extreme performance work followed, shown mainly in Central Europe, to include the Cry series, Mother Hysteria and the Kunst-Clown Action series, his first solo show in Budapest, as well as academic articles on Nitsch and the Dialogues text series. Since 2007, Sakoilsky has worked increasingly in the medium of paint. Series of works include The Dark Times project, Poor-traits/Portraits, Unfamiliar, The Wind of Aten, the Reg series, Napoli, and an on-going series of London paintings. From 2010-2012, he was Resident Artist at Red Gallery, Shoreditch, for whom he also co-curated the landmark show East End Promise: A Story of Cultural Migrants (Londonewcastle Project Space).
In 2012 he began work on a series of life-studies, initially called View. In the same year, during a residency in Naples with Fondazione Morra, he switched to oil painting and working almost entirely from life. This led to an intense, continuous engagement with oil painting and a large new body of work of cityscapes, portraits and other subjects. “The Dark Times are situated within a socio-political aesthetic: semiotics, détournement, critique, where the painterly aspect cannot help but be over-determined by the content and form of the ‘newspaper’ and the mediated world. I often think the DT’s are more akin to epistemology (study of knowledge, in this case, an often misdirected, at the very least, certainly always ideologically driven form of ‘knowledge’). On the other hand, the main focus of my painting since early 2012 (excepting works made for particular projects and exhibitions), is more akin to ontology (study of Being), to a poetic and philosophical engagement, and an unashamed, excited fascination with the world and painting and their inter-relationship – an opening out into the world and beyond.” His work is shown, published and collected internationally. He has a son, Joseph, and daughter, Anastasia.2nd June 2015.
“Paul Sakoilsky is a painter with a philosophical background and formidable skill for oratory and writing. The artworks are a concrete engagement which proclaims freedom in the possibility of envisioning a world different from the one we inhabit.”
Mike Watson, art writer & Curator (Rome, 2013).