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CARLOS KUSNIR
Solo exhibition

10 March — 3 June 2018
Opening: 10 March from 6 to 10 p.m.

4th floor - Panorama
Friche la Belle de Mai
41, rue Jobin
13003 Marseille

Curators : Céline Kopp and Pascal Neveux

Organized by Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Triangle France, in partnership with Friche la Belle de Mai, as part of MP2018 Quel Amour!

With the support from FNAGP - Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques.

Download the press release


Carlos Kusnir, Untitled, 2014, Collection FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. © ADAGP, Paris, 2018. Photo: JC Lett

The Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Triangle France team up for the first time in order to present a major exhibition of the artist Carlos Kusnir.

Unfolding exceptionally in both spaces, this monographic exhibition gives visitors an original view over the course of over thirty years of creation. It offers a non-chronological vision of the artist’s practice by linking a selection of major works with new productions. This composition was specifically conceived for the two platforms of the Frac and the Panorama of the Friche la Belle de Mai.

Born in Argentina and living and working in Marseilles and Paris, Carlos Kusnir has developed since the beginning of the 1980’s a singular body of work that pushes back, not without jubilation and cheekiness, against the formal issues of painting. His work is just like his personality, finely chiseled with fancy and rigor, with awkwardness and virtuosity, with assurance and fragility. Seeming in appearance to be a kind of a makeshift assemblage, his works allow how they are made to be seen and offer their structure to visitors. They are often accompanied by sound elements. With irreverence, he tackles printing techniques and proceeds via collage and assemblage in order to bring his compositions beyond their surfaces, to a space that is three-dimensional and sonorous. This space is permeated with tenderness, humor, rigor and evocations of personal and collective memories. Stemming from daily life, they refer to grand History and minor history. He produces his paintings, where painting both works and plays to emancipate itself from everything that tries to define and frame it: its support, its forms, its materials, its representations. His artistic journey and his body of works make an impression through their great liberty and are marked by a capacity for permanent reinvention. Through this ambitious exhibition, whose title is proudly just his name, Carlos Kusnir demonstrates his capacity to question himself without ever allowing for facility or superficiality.

The works gathered in Marseilles present themselves like elements, or like characters of a universe made of superstitions, of relationships, of successive layers of color, of repetitions of gestures and motifs. The importance of print making techniques is apparent, especially lithography, even though that technique was pushed to the margins of the artist’s pictorial practice for many decades. Repetition: it’s that which is practiced in the gestures and patterns of the print maker, and that which is practiced by musicians. Carlos Kusnir conceives and produces paintings where labor disappears behind the freshness of incisive propositions. Things are alive and play themselves out. Sometimes they take a break, the time to drink a coffee or take a seat on a chair. And then things pick up again. As for music, it literally emanates from the artworks like an extra layer of color that accompanies the gaze. In Carlos Kusnir’s work, repetition and rhythm drive figuration toward abstraction. The objects that are represented become pretexts, and circulate within an ensemble that makes the things that bind, the silences, the lucky accidents, clashes and harmonies apparent.

The works often appear in balance, as if freshly placed there. Paint, wood, objects, paper… the assemblages and points of contact are fragile and celebrate the impermanence of things. A single detail or a small object can dramatically alter the whole ensemble. The versatility of expressions and of affects that are created in the frictions and moments of grace that Carlos Kusnir offers reminds us that everything is vanity. And whatever the scale of their proportions may be, the relationship to the body that the works maintain is direct. It is like a sheet of paper that you handle and turn over to look at and put to the side when it exists the printing press. The artworks don’t want to remain in place. They affirm their movement. They proclaim their presence. In this exhibition, they literally manifest their existence. Brandished on their supports, proclaiming their right to occupy space and time. Sometimes they do this wonkily, and no matter the scale or meaning. They are here together, and ask questions, like a crowd on the march. An elegant fragility that makes a silent cacophony. Always seeking new pictorial melodies, Calos Kusnir prefers side paths to megaphones and ceaselessly goes off-track in order to find his way, which allows us to see a body of work in perpetual motion.

Céline Kopp and Pascal Neveux, Marseilles, February 2018


"In my exhibitions, I work with my paintings as if they formed a musical composition. In my dreams, I tell myself that each painting has its own sonority and colour. That each painting is a unique instrument that could be part of an immense orchestra. And that for each installation of my work, I could produce noises, silences, ruptures and dialogues that would be different every time."

"The whow at Triangle France takes the form of a promenade. I wanted visitors to see each piece individually. The works function as individual punctuations that in turn make up a constellation in the universe. I see my exhibition as large paintings composed of smaller paintings. An exhibition is ephemeral. It's a moment in time."

Carlos Kusnir