Guy YanaiÈTÈ 2020
Kantor Gallery is proud to present ÈTÈ 2020, a solo exhibition of new works by Guy Yanai. The show will be on view at the gallery from September 12, 2020 through October 2, 2020. ÈTÈ 2020 is apart of Yanai’s three part exhibition series, LIFE 2020
“From March 2020 we all suddenly faced a new strange and unknown reality. The first weeks were of course the hardest and most unusual. I write this in late August and we have gone into a sort of acceptance and adaptation, however the first weeks in March and April were voids.
For the first two weeks I didn’t go to the studio, I had stopped working on the show in Germany that I was so excited about. I was mainly in bed and on my iPhone reading news. I was lethargic and I was nothing. We all had to rebuild ourselves. Somehow I did it quickly; reaching back to my childhood, to thinking what drove me to be an artist, to being creative with no dead- lines, no goals, no shows. To the first flowers I drew in the second grade in the suburbs of Boston.
The first spark of change came from two things: Seeing a brilliant and beautiful talk between Karl Ove Knausgård & Peter Doig at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark. They were discussing the show that Karl Ove curated on the works of Edward Munch. The way Karl Ove spoke was so sharp, so articulate, so experienced, it was so exciting to be moved again. To be honest Peter Doig didn’t say much, and I have never really been a fan of his work. But the the way his bald head was pink from the light resonated, and that strange hospital green of his microphone. Instantly I knew I would paint Peter Doig. Like a child, like a teenager, who works without much consciousness.
The second was listening again to John Zorn’s Masada. I was introduced to John Zorn when I was 16 years old. As his music is not on the music streaming plat- forms I had to listen to it thru YouTube. The YouTube algorithm was actually great, only stopping once in a while to make sure that I was “still viewing”. This clear passion and realization gave me so much, the mu- sic made me feel me. The new “portraits”, shapes, film scenes, tilted plants, flowers, houses, boats, transcriptions etc. It might look like the same trajectory but it felt really different. It felt free, and it was demanded. I had to paint Michel Houellebecq, I had to paint Pauline sleeping with the Matisse pos- ter in the room. All three of these projects blended into each other because of ever changing deadlines and the uncertainty of when things would open up.
Upon finishing these thirty something paintings I knew that they were one body of work and thought it best to combine them into one catalog. March – July, 2020. Life.”
Guy Yanai, September 2020, Tel Aviv
Born 1977 in Haifa, Israel, Guy Yanai currently lives and works in Tel Aviv. He attended Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY, The New York Studio School, New York, NY, Pont Aven School of Art, Pont-Aven, France and received a BFA from Hampshire College, Amherst, MA.
Guy Yanai’s paintings are characterized by bold colors, simplified shapes, and a flattened depth of field. In his work, the banal is reduced to geometric segments in a stripping away of references to the tangible world in favor of a visual experience that is more akin to digital imagery—using Google Street view as a reference for a landscape for example. He often chooses everyday objects and spaces as his subjects, flattening and abstracting them in a way that seems removed and objective. Yanai has cited numerous sources of inspiration—from old, modern, and contemporary masters to digital imagery, television and advertisements—and his simplified representations may serve as a way to condense and organize the multitude of data we receive in reference to any person, place, or thing into concise representations with tight compositions. The more time spent with Yanai’s painting, the more it encourages an investigation into the perceptive space of the canvas, a place where objects, scenery and nature are conjured, sustained and gently teased away.