apolonia sokol





current :

Tainted Love, groupshow, Confort Moderne, FRANCE / curator: Yann Chevalier/ December 16 - March 4


upcoming :

J'AIME, groupshow, Galerie Henri Chartier, Lyon/ curator: Marion Bataillard / opening Jan 13th

Medulla/ Modula, groupshow, The Pill, ISTANBUL_ Material Art Fair, MEXICO / opening Feb 8th

I am what I am, groupshow, Ici.gallery, Paris / curator: Julie Crenn /  opening  Feb 8th

Soloshow, The Pill, Istanbul


past :

révélations EMERIGE, groupshow, Prize, Villa Émérige, Paris / curator : Gaël Charbau / opening November 7

Surreal House, groupshow, The Pill, Istanbul/ curator: Suela Cennet

conference: Her Story, Centre contemporain d'art Malakoff / curator: Julie Creen & Pascal Lievre

Peindre dit--elle #2, groupshow, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dole, FRANCE / curator: Julie Crenn, Anabelle Teneze and Amélie Lavin

Quatrième Sexe, groupshow, GALERIE LE COEUR, Paris / curator: Marie Maertens / OPENING 26th-Jan 6pm / until 25th Feb 2017

Heartbreak Hotel, Soloshow, GALERIE DUTKO, Paris / opening Oct 13 - 5-9pm_ showing until end of November

Toute Premiere Fois, Groupshow, 22 VISCONTI, Paris / opening Oct 16th 3-8 pm, curated by Armelle Leturcq & Francesca Napoli

matin, midi, soir, HonoréVisconti, Paris / opening September 14th, curated by Laure Flammarion

Sabbath . Soloshow . ANDERSEN'S CONTEMPORARY, Copenhagen / opening June 23rd

Berlin Est, groupshow . GAD Paris, 18 rue des Cascades / opening June 9th

Walker Evans / Apolonia Sokol, ATTIC, Brussels . march/april 2016

process is desire, Whitcher Projects, Los Angeles, curated by Isabelle Le Normand





Echho & Narcisse >>SHE SAID WHAT SHE SAID WAS SHE SAID _ 2017

raw bee wax; cotton, metal, Painting oil on linen // painting: 300 x 150 cm




Apolonia Sokol par Ingrid Luquet Gad

La peinture est une affaire de groupe. De tribus, de familles, d’entourages. La peinture, ou une certaine peinture figurative du moins, celle dont on garde une image romantique séculaire et qui a élu le portrait comme ultime moyen d’expression. Chez Apolonia Sokol, l’idée de collectif perdure. D’abord parce que ses sujets sont forcément issus de son entourage, transposant sur la toile les affinités électives et électriques des rencontres. Amis, amants, belles âmes de passage : tous se retrouvent traités en pied à l’échelle 1, seul ou par paire, où l’on croit reconnaître ici la pose du pape d’El Greco, là une rugosité nerveuse échappée d’un tableau Otto Dix. Mais cette bande recomposée, c’est aussi le résultat de la traversée subjective de l’histoire de son médium qu’entreprend l’artiste, peintre avant tout, créant des alliances improbables et contre-nature où Giorgio Morandi noue connaissance Elisabeth Peyton, et Kerry James Marshall se prend d’amitié pour Albert Oehlen. Loin d’une hybridation post-moderne, Apolonia Sokol réaffirme la position du sujet, d’un moi triomphant qui parcourt le monde et agrège dans le sillage de ce corps-à-corps avec la matière brute du réel une matière brute retenant sans distinction l’histoire de l’art, la pop culture, l’émotion pré-langagière et les accidents sans qualité du quotidien. S’il a beaucoup été question dans les années 1980 du « tribalisme » d’une génération de peintres entre New York et Cologne, l’ère présente se redéfinit à l’aune du sujet. Non pas qu’il faille y voire le triomphe du néolibéralisme et de sa célébration de l’individualisme, mais au contraire, une reconquête de l’esprit de groupe qui passerait d’abord par l’affirmation de sa position propre. Ainsi, si les stéréotypes sont légion dans les portraits d’Apolonia Sokol, ils ne sont que costumes, que l’on endosse ponctuellement sans s’y perdre : la muse, le modèle, la sorcière, l’amante, la sainte, les figures mythologiques, incarnés tantôt par l’artiste, tantôt par ses proches – n’hésitant pas à se mettre elle-même en scène dans son atelier, posant devant ses toiles, afin de souligner encore un peu plus cette réversibilité. Et avec la fluidité innée de sa génération, passée maître dans l’exercice de la déhiérarchisation autant des sources que des identités, conjuguer au féminin et au pluriel la figure du grand artiste dans son atelier.

BONNIE-CENNI, 2017 . Oil on linnen . 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in . 195 × 114 cm

SALOME, 2017 . Oil on linnen . 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in . 195 × 114 cm

PORTIA, 2017 . Oil on linnen . 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in . 195 × 114 cm





Read Tomorrow mag, NYC >>







MEDEE, 2016 . Oil on linnen . 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in . 195 × 114 cm

VAMPIRE, 2016 . Oil on linnen . 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in

HECATE, 2016 . Oil on linnen . 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in . 195 × 114 cm











Carnivorous and haunted. ▼▼▼

In 1890 Maurice Denis encouraged artists to "remember that a painting, before being a battle horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote" was "essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order". The 20th century painting, in large part, decided that the essence of painting was elsewhere than in the images, and often renounced them. But there was a misunderstanding (the fact that this misunderstanding has, from Kandinsky to Mondrian, Rothko and Newman, produced absolute wonders, does not change the case): images continue to obsess painters, and will no doubt continue to do so for a long time to come. Can one reasonably argue that it is inessential, for a figurative painter, to choose the representation of a woman rather than that of a horse? This would mean that the subject of the image outweighs the thousand meanings which any image carries... No woman, and, as far as one can speculate, no horse, would obviously accept this idea.

The painted images, to speak only of those, are always both material (pigments, binders, a surface) and memory (the memory of all of our lives), linked to a specific alchemy, that of the mad ones who persist in sheltering their desire of the world within these few square centimeters (or square meters) of cloth that we call paintings. Apolonia Sokol controls in an admirable way, despite her young age, the alchemy in question. Her paintings are most often portraits of her entourage; however we would be wrong in seeing them only as episodes in a chronicle of our time, snapshots of Paris, Los Angeles, New York or Brussels.

Behind the effigy of a young woman in the bath, you sense, as you would guess the hidden foundations of a building, a film by Buster Keaton, but also David's The Death of Marat, Bonnard’s bathtubs, and even the Venuses of the Renaissance. Behind the silhouette of an artist, the admirable pose of the teacher in Blackboardby Winslow Homer, behind Petit Peintre, the touching astonishment of the boy in A Child with a Teetotum, by Chardin... The most commonplace of scenes, in the lens of the eye and the hand of Apolonia Sokol, are loaded with the the full thickness of a memory, the intact recollection of hundreds of images that inhabit the artist's head. Even the abstract background of the paintings seem to conceal phantoms. "There's a woman under there," would have exclaimed the protagonists of The Unknown Masterpiece (the short story of Balzac that depicts a painter so enamored of his model that he ends up creating a pandemonium of lines from which emerges with the miraculous grace of an apparition, the perfect image of a single body part). With Apolonia Sokol, it is on that note often literally true that there is "a woman under there". Many of her paintings have been re-painted on canvases, unfinished or discarded, which continue to appear through the finished compositions - needless to say, these paintings more often depict women than horses, and it is not just a matter of epoch…

In the figure gallery of Sokol we find a young New Yorker whose body is covered in tattoos: the lovers of painting will immediately recognize a nod to the painting by Otto Dix, Zuleika, the Tattooed Wonder, or Portrait of Egon Erwin by Christian Schad. But others will see, simply, and no less precisely, the delicate image of a young man, as one can meet many today, which does exist, and who has decided to make his body a sort of private museum. There are a lot of tattooed models in the work of Apolonia Sokol, and it's undoubtedly not a coincidence. The popularity of tattooing is universal today, or nearly so, and it happens to be contemporary with the massive dissemination of digital images on touch screens and mobile phones; as if the instinct of young people, who are the main consumers of these smooth and fleeting images, caused them to powerfully embody certain figures or certain motifs by engraving them forever on their bodies.

The fury of painting of Apolonia Sokol belongs precisely to this time where images are endangered by their abundance, their fluidity and their disembodiment. The project of the artist, deliberate or not, is to give flesh to the images, to shape them in the chemistry of pigments, to offer to the desire of the spectator - a lover of painting is always a voyeur - images made of the same material as the world around us, and the memory of the world that we are forgetting. Her painting is ambitious, voluntary and voracious, but also scholarly, subtle and refined. Carnivorous and haunted, that is to say: scandalously seductive, as would a femme fatale, and full of promise.

Didier Semin




MOI, 2016. Oil on linen - 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in - 195 × 114 cm


( photo : Sara Sani )




AGATHE, 2016. Oil on linen - 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in - 195 × 114 cm

ABDY, 2016 . Oil on linen - 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in - 195 × 114 cm



( photo : Jehane Mahmoud )





And although it’s always crowded,
you still can find some room.
Where broken hearted lovers
do cry away their gloom.
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (1956)

Apolonia Sokol’s paintings borrow from both past and present. She paints contemporary life, capturing the presence, faces and movements of friends, lovers and strangers. Her portraits combine historical references (from prehistorical times to today) and personal photographs (generally Polaroids) or images taken from Facebook and Instagram. This leads to different forms of interference. Munch makes an appearance alongside Hilma af Klint. Balthus is juxtaposed with a tarot card drawing. Whitney Houston crosses paths with Hokusai, while Victor Brauner collides with Leonardo da Vinci and Tamara de Lempicka. Sokol mixes different genres, from classical painting to pop music, creating a cross-disciplinary and fragmented approach to figurative art. As a result of her subjects and their portrayal, her works create tension and complexity, which are inherent to the gaze of the other, opposition and human relationships. Her life-size portraits are like a physical confrontation. Figures float in indeterminate times and places, with their eyes open – and fixed on viewers – or closed. Sokol seems to oscillate between different states. Each portrait contains a range of emotions situated between two extremes – past and present, life and death, private and public, fascination and revulsion, fantasy and fear, and intimacy and voyeurism. Using these existential dichotomies as a source of inspiration, the artist explores a zone where discomfort and seduction coexist, attract and repulse. Sokol’s most recent works explore history and the representation of women: muses, models, witches, saints, lovers, goddesses, adolescents and queens. Her portraits depict women who are feminine, masculine, androgynous, alone, in relationships, lascivious or masked. They combine individual and collective histories. As Sokol paints Lilith, Medusa, Saint Agatha and Salome, she breaks down different times, myths, cultures and religions, to create a syncretic form of art. While quotations and associations are common practices in painting, Sokol uses these sources to create a style that I consider marginal and radical. While her figures are neither overly exuberant nor provocative, their indifferent and powerful attitudes express a radiant insolence.

Julie Crenn

>> version française


Apolonia SOKOL I GALERIE DUTKO Bonaparte

October 14, 2016 – November 12, 2016













SIHAM FLOATING IN BETWEEN, 2016 . Oil on linen - 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in - 195 × 114 cm

AGSILA & HEALER - MAGIC LESSON_PIETA, 2016 . oil on linen, 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in - 195 × 114 cm



MICHELE MAGEMA - CONGOLESE MEDIUM, 2016 . Oil on linen - 11 4/5 × 15 7/10 in - 30 × 40 cm




BONNIE AND YLVA (ANNUCIATION), 2016, Oil on linen, 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in - 195 × 114



JOHANNE - HYSTERICAL INVENTION, 2016 . Oil on linen - 11 4/5 × 15 7/10 in - 30 × 40 cm



INES - BLACKLIGHT BEAUTY, 2016 - Oil on linen - 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in - 195 × 114 cm



DINA - DETERMINATED DIVA, 2016 - Oil on linen - 76 4/5 × 44 9/10 in - 195 × 114 cm



CIAO, 2015 . oil on canvas, 195 x 114 cm

On Apolonia Sokol by Elisa Rigoulet






“Will you marry me”. Those were some of the first words spoken to me by Apolonia Sokol when I was introduced to her by her energetic compadre and fellow french woman Isabelle Le Normand (and subject of one of the paintings I now own). Apolonia a French painter, feminist, lover of all things, survivor and charismatic surfer of life, in it raw state, finds herself in my home negotiating a residency in Los Angeles that will last 6 weeks and will include free paint, free Belgium linen (the finest), free studio, free Uber and a photoshoot for my first assignment for Vogue.it.. I have no idea if she is talented, I have not seen her work, but I recognize energy and after a fast explanation of her roots in the tough suburbs of Paris, her harboring of some of the Femen’s, Ukrainian’s famous feminists and her all go attitude I say yes on the spot and off she goes. Paint store, studio a little cash and Apolonia enters the Simcor machine. 6 Weeks later, 4 photoshoots a lot of studio time, $2000 spent on Uber X and instinct as usual in my case has won over intellect. The paintings are great, she is great, the photos are great and to bake the cake, so to speak, her dis robing at a cool underground art fair at the Paramount ranch, at the rear end of a giant green inflatable but plug by the artist Paul McCarthy just made the whole thing worthwhile. Ladies and Gentleman, may I present, the young artist: Apolonia Sokol.

Texy by Stefan Simchowitz





exhibition view PROCESS IS DESIRE, witcher project, Inglewood, 2015



exhibition view PROCESS IS DESIRE, witcher project, Inglewood, 2015



Walker Evans / Apolonia Sokol, ATTIC, Brussels . opening march 9th 2016



exhibition view WALKER EVANS / APOLONIA SOKOL, attic, Brussels


exhibition view WALKER EVANS / APOLONIA SOKOL, attic, Brussels



BABY GREEN, 2016 . oil on linen, 29 x 39 cm



exhibition view WALKER EVANS / APOLONIA SOKOL, attic, Brussels



KYLE ENGLAND, 2015 . oil and encaustic on canvas, 146 x 97 cm









KISS, 2015 . oil on canvas, 18 x 24 cm



DESPERATE SEX, 2015 . oil on canvas, 195 x 114 cm . at the red eye studio, Brooklyn



MOI SANS MASQUE, 2015 . oil on canvas, 18 x 24 cm






LILI GRAFITTI, 2015 . oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm






Life ain't fair, 22visonti, Paris, 2015 . curated by La GAD Arnaud Deschin . ©Romain Darnaud






HENRY TAYLOR_SLEEPING PAINTER, 2016 . oil on Belgian linen, 203 x 127 cm . at Whitcher Projects, Los Angeles, curated by Isabelle Le Normand




AUGUST BLUM_BOY KID, 2016 . oil on Belgian linen, 203 x 127 cm



CHILL, 2015 . oil on canvas, 195 x 114 cm












MLK, 2015 . oil on canvas, 146 x 114 cm



PETIT PAINTER, 2015 . oil on canvas, 195 x 114 cm









LOUP, 2015 . oil on canvas, 24 x 35 cm






BONNIE BLUES, 2015 . oil on canvas, 57 x 72 cm






BLACK JACOBIN, 2015 . oil on canvas, 57 x 72 cm






ELLIOT GLASS, 2015 . oil and encaustic on canvas, 146 x 97 cm



ILLIES, 2015 . oil on canvas, 195 x 114 cm






PSYCHO_EGYPTIAN, 2015 . oil on canvas, 145 x 114 cm