Portrait dans les roseaux,  

Yuri Leiderman

.  September 7th, 2013 - October 12th, 2013


Portrait dans les roseaux

Yuri Leiderman

09.07.2013 - 10.12.2013

07.09 - 12.10.2013    

Galerie Michel Rein is proud to present Portrait dans les roseaux, the 4th solo exhibition by Yuri Leiderman at the gallery after « La route Jura-Paris » 1994, « Apprendre l'histoire de l'Europe à un chat et mesurer le bonheur en petits chiens » 1999 et « Les performances de Dima Blein » 2004.

Leiderman's works often draw inspiration from the themes of national identity (which he calls "Geopoetics") and seek to transform these issues into abstractions, thereby testing their elasticity while highlighting their unexplainable character, and giving them back a certain degree of irreducible, if not ironic, dignity. The primarily graphic and expressive paintings in this exhibition mainly consist of portraits that blend figuration with a kind of oneiric abstraction.

This is perhaps best exemplified by an unusual portrait of Saddam Hussein entitled, Saddam Hussein on the Wind 2013. Here Leiderman has taken a well-circulated image of the shocked and disillusioned late dictator and transformed it, in such a way that he becomes disembodied and phantasmal, and undergoes an ambiguous pictorial redemption.

Although Leiderman's return to painting may seem contradictory to his many years of preoccupation with "conceptual" performances and installations, it in fact merely prolongs the guiding line of his artistic investigations. It can be defined as a contradiction between "expressions" and "guarantees", between "cry" and "ornament", or "pathos" and "repetition".  In each of his pieces, the somewhat unclear "pathetic" appeal and the rather unnecessary ornamental approach collide and therefore partly cancel each other out to become a kind of semi-obscurity, which is both treated as an anti-ideological and non-discursive liberation. This certainly becomes clearer in the show, in which Leiderman's recent paintings can be seen in parallel with small hand-made art books executed over 25 years ago, in the mid-80s. Seemingly sentimental but very disjointed sentences simultaneously support and destroy the monotone, idiosyncratic, page-by-page design, which traps the viewer in a kind of irrational "one-hand clap."

Altogether, the two parts of this show provide us with a crucial opportunity to understand and appreciate the simultaneously deflating and redemptive logic of Leiderman?s singular works.

Yuri Leiderman (born in 1963) lives and works in Berlin. He has participated in a great number of international solo exhibitions: Le Quartier Centre d?art contemporain, Quimper / National Center of Contemporary Art, Moscou / FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims / Centre d?art contemporain de Genève / Mac, Marseille / Le Creux de l?enfer, Thiers / Herzliya Art Museum, Herzliya. Yuri Leiderman?s artworks are present in French and international collections: Mac, Marseille / CNAP, Paris-La Défense / FRAC Rhône-Alpes, Villeurbane / FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims / Russian National Museum, St. Petersburg / Ludwig Museum, Budapest / New Ludwig Collection, Aachen / Center of Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci, Prato / National Gallery Victoria, Melbourne.

07.09 ? 12.10.2013

Galerie Michel Rein is proud to present « If Things Are Not As You Wish, Wish Them As They Are » the 5th solo exhibition of Stefan Nikolaev at the gallery after « Under Reconstruction » 2002, « One for the money, two for the show » 2003, « Sickkiss » 2006and « New Works Old Dreams » 2009.

In the austere guise of a minimalist proposition, Stefan Nikolaev?s new solo show develops a homogeneous set of works which are anything but easy to pigeonhole, taxonomically. Belonging, technically speaking, to the sculptural field, at first glance these objects made of patinated bronze nevertheless come across as if subordinate to painting: what is involved is castings of picture stretchers with different standardized dimensions. Arranged in small groups (calling to mind Mondrian?s compositions), resting on the ground but leaning against the walls, the objects seem to float in an intermediate state accentuated by their not very eloquent discretion.

Have we arrived before the showing or after the end credits of this curious Salon des Refusés and its empty frames, worthy of the Herald Tribune without photoengraving in 1987 (Jean-Luc Moulène, series of Objets de grève)? The neon which takes up the exhibition?s title would in all logic be a possible point of entry: If things are not as you wish, wish them as they are? As a proverb that exhorts a certain frugal restraint, are we thus faced with the admission of a pictorial failure, the premonition of a beneficent iconoclasm, or the conceptual excuse of a figurative vacantness?

With a certain mistrust (verbal hijacking being, for this artist, a multi-recidivist practice), the repartee that springs to mind is somewhat sarcastic: Language is a dialect with an army and navy[1].

Because the pictorial reference here is articulated with a deliberately pronounced accent, it is thus not a matter of lunging for a dusty volume of Le Bon Usage, art division[2]. The exercise as such is not entirely novel: however, Stefan Nikolaev?s objects, which are equidistant from the ontological rigour of Supports/Surfaces and the tautology inspired by McLuhan?s The Medium is the Message, do not stem from trans-substantiation[3], but more from something transgenic.

What should probably be remembered is his way of using the referential power of painting so as to translate a pictorial dialect into a sculptural language.

Emile Ouroumov,

São Paulo, 2013

Stefan Nikolaev (born in 1970) lives and works in Paris and Sofia. He has a great number of international solo exhibitions : Les Eglises Centre d'Art Contemporain, Chelles / ARC Projects, Sofia / The Crouch(klek)-art Basement Project, Sofia / Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours / CCA, Glasgow / Espace Paul Ricard, Paris / Kunstmuseum, Thun.

Stefan Nikolaev represented Bulgaria at the 52ndVenice Biennal

[1]A remark attributed to the linguist Max Weinreich (1894-1969)

[2]Le Bon Usage, known as Le Grevisse, is a descriptive grammar of the French language, a reference book for writers and proof-readers.

[3]This involves, literally, the conversion of one substance into another. For some Christians, the term describes the conversion of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ during the Eucharist. So, by the consecration of the mass, bread and wine are ?really, truly and substantially? transformed or converted into the body and blood of Christ, while keeping their physical characteristics and initial forms.