Onania is an infected universe that has been accumulating character
and detail since Jan Manski’s MA at Central Saint Martins in 2010.
Onania’s development has been unrelentingly pervasive of Manski’s
practise, appropriate to its nature as a diseased scourge.
Onania hosts an alternate reality and fertile breeding ground for
mankind’s most despicable modern habits. Narcissism bred from
frantic consumer culture is shownat its most destructive, with
Onania’s inhabitants seeking its prime offering - unadulterated and
uninterrupted pleasure. Manski’s meticulous and total attention to
minute detail has borne a product encased in the methodologies of
this eminently inviting and hostile environment.
The Onanizer - Your Ultimate Masturbation Experience is at the
root of Onania. Designed to mould seamlessly to the user’s body,
the ‘limitless pleasure’ machine invites its users to a realm of singular
focus on themselves. Sophisticated advertising tricks are played on
our atavistic compulsions of fulfilling basic instincts. Such sinister
manipulation hovers beneath a seemless pastel veneer, pivoting on
our powerlessness and ignorance of Manski’s role as puppet master.
The Onanizer reflects the ultimate aim of Onania, which is the most
perfect and heightened existence of blissful solitude.
Onania’s inhabitants are rapidly infected and disfigured, as by a
medieval plague, presented in Manski's glossily ubiquitous, cloying
pink. These objects form a series entitled Aetiology Unknown. Skulls,
leather, teeth and terrifyingly dated surgical instruments bulge
and surge against each other in these sculptures. Even the machine
itself is disfigured by a grotesque seepage, spewing combinations of
human fat sourced from liposuction clinics, and synthetic materials,
largely vinyl acetate. Natural and manufactured elements are brought
into fearfully close proximity and become interchangeable, blurring the
secure borders of human recognition and refusing reassurance.
ONANIA: An Introduction
BREESE LITTLE, February 2012
The work of Jan Manski is striking, even sensational. Manski realises
his vision with a perversely visceral language which creates a coherent,
highly stylised world with a menacing futuristic edge. It interrogates
and parodies our consumerist culture.
Manski, through an imaginative act of enormous ingenuity, creates an
entirely new world rather than relying on the old trope of ‘appropriation’.
His world embodies a very particular philosophy of sexual excess and
manifest guilt. His futurist pleasure product dramatizes the relationship
between our sexual appetites and narcissism, to create a microcosm
which is unnervingly familiar but completely alien.
His work is genuinely disturbing and unsettling. The world into which
we are drawn is simultaneously seductive and repellent but it repays
scrutiny and its impact is substantial and lasting. This is one of the
most original voices that I have come across in recent years.
JAN MANSKI: ONANIA
Foreword by Robert Devereux, essay by Ned Beauman
BREESE LITTLE at The Rochelle School, London
April - May 2012
ORDER ONANIA CATALOGUE