Small Lemon (2020), a sculpture made with reused materials such as fruit crates or transport boxes, is part of the practice of the artist Manuel Wróblewski which creates exotic imaginaries through an artistic approach that favors recycling.

The lemon, with rounded shapes, bears the writing Manu 2020 on its rind. The artist’s signature, which seems to wink at the authorial attestation that characterized and still characterizes the painting, in this case seems ironically to play with the role of the artist himself, mixing craft and art, sculpture and painting, scenography and installation. The object is identified as an activator of thought thanks to that name which effectively becomes a distinction to identify it as a artwork. But the artist is not only signing his work, in fact the little lemon was then placed inside a wooden box: a work of art or a fruit ready for exceptional transport? Maybe neither one nor the other. In fact, the wooden case refers to an archaeological imagery, almost as if the object created by Wróblewski comes from another era and contains in itself a value that we have yet to discover. Perhaps, as in the case of the sculptural work Bird in Space by the artist Brancusi which in 1910 was identified at customs as a kitchen utensil because it was too abstract to be considered a work of art, Small Lemon could create difficulties inside the customs services too. The materials used and the objects that contextualize the work bring out an exotic element that characterizes the artist’s practice: his sculptures with bright colors and slightly pop shapes seem to speak of a tropical, almost primitive environment that messes up the plans reading time of the work.

Through small details and the dislocation of an element of our everyday life, Wróblewski demonstrates the disarming power of art to multiply narratives, to open the observer’s thought to narrative glimpses and to be able to create mental scenographies in which each of us can then move between different times and places. One could almost add Ceci n’est pas un citron to continue this game of references and quotations while maintaining the ironic reading typical of Wróblewski’s practice. Small Lemon in its formal simplicity allows it to become a container of stories as well as to hint, with grace and respect, to the need for an art that does not produce new material but which can be based on recycling with a view to a new sustainability.


Manuel Wróblewski
Small Lemon, 2020
Wooden fruit, vegetables boxes, oil paint, oil stick
© the artist