Totemic Head Hand Carved Sculpture (unsigned) Jencik circa 1998

Totemic Head Hand Carved Sculpture (unsigned) Jencik circa 1998


Another wonderful marble sculpture with an intriguing provenance. Unsigned. Part of a series by Paul Jencik, circa 1998-2001.

This ‘totemic head’ sculpture is carved from a single block of marble in a snowy white. It’s the remaining head from a much larger totem, the base now lost. This figurative face can be interpreted in many ways. Jencik references human, animal and natural forms but never quite allows us to reach a conclusion about the origins of his creations.

Jencik was a welder, boatbuilder and metal worker with a strong creative drive but without the opportunity or artistic training that would afford his work any recognition. He created a large series of marble and timber sculptures of merit. He was active in the fringe Arts movement around Melbourne's western suburbs through the 1990s and early 2000s.

His work is robust, humorous and energetic - a notable achievement for works in stone.

His style carries strong elements of 1990s pop culture, graphic design, Pop Art, and Street Art. Some of the artistic and design heavy-weights it brings to mind are Philippe Starck, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Wendell Castle and Constantin Brancusi. Yet, his work stands out as a unique expression of the 90s street aesthetic - it’s ‘of its time’ but utterly individual.

His strange biomorphic forms create a curious sense of the familiar which we can never quite pin down - are they mineral, botanical, animal or human? Something is struggling to emerge. Menacing or vulnerable, we’re not sure. It’s hard to get a fix on definitions and as a consequence they compel our attention.

Jencik's sculptures are usually of small, energetic idols. On the one hand, they’re playful explorations of the materials he had at hand, frequently featuring lamination of different coloured stones. On the other, there’s a deeper tension. Many of his forms are ringed by bands of tension at every angle. Energy bulges out of the boundaries.

Perhaps this is emblematic of Jencik’s drive to realise his own expression in spite of the constraints of his time, place and circumstances.

The examples we've acquired are a small selection of his prolific work. We feel sure he’ll find greater recognition as more are discovered and come to market.

We are currently seeking contact with the artist.


Height 22 cm

Width 14 cm

Depth 10cm


Good. Some scuffs and slight pitting on prominent parts. A long but stable crack over the right ‘eye’ with a chip at side/end of crack edge, about 5mm wide x 6mm long x 1mm deep. The underside is uneven, the remains of a break from the base of the work, base is now lost. A natural ‘rust’ spot in the marble.

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