press release

Galerie Akinci is pleased to present a curatorial project by artist Andrei Roiter, entitled Being There. Inspired by the 1979 philosophical and political satire, (and Peter Sellers’ last film), Roiter invites a group of international, representational painters, for whom he feels a deep, personal admiration, and whose intensely subjective universes appear extraordinary yet unassuming, much the same way as the film’s main character.

Chance, the gardener (Peter Sellers), is a simpleton who has lived all of his life inside the townhouse and walled garden of a rich recluse and knows only gardening and what he sees on TV. Awaking one morning to learn that his master has died, Chance is soon thrown out into the world. The naif's mind has been supplied with a fund of simplistic generalizations, phrased in terms of the garden where he has worked all his adult life. But because he presents himself as a man of good breeding (he wears the deceased proprietor’s old-fashioned tailored suits) his simplicity is mistaken for profundity and he is inadvertently thought to be a genius who then rises to prominence.

Roiter sees a parallel between the protagonist of the film and the figure of the painter in our contemporary landscape. The representational painter uses an archaic medium and produces handmade, poetic objects to make metaphors on a present-day reality that is mechanically mediated and increasingly virtual. Whether as a metalanguage or as direct expression, the works of each of the painters Roiter has chosen for his show exemplifies this paradox. Share unique depth and intimate atmosphere, the works in this show are modest in scale but universal in scope.

Ross Chisholm’s (Redhill, UK, 1977) reconstituted portraiture positions the viewer in an unsettled relationship to nostalgia, memory and the recording of it. Working with historical paintings, reproductions or found images, Chisholm breaks the surfaces of his small-scale paintings with visual interventions that deface or erase precious innocence.

Rezi van Lankveld’s (Almelo, Netherlands 1973) liquid, automatic technique stands stalwartly against the hyper-technologized processes of the modern world. Lankveld’s improvisational method preserves each piece’s unpredictability to the very end. What remains then are suggestive waves and watery forms that tempt us into recognition but always maintain the allure of other possibilities.

Like Van Lankveld, Paul Housley’s (Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, 1964) works are unequivocally unconceptual. His paintings are sincere, intimate portraits or still lifes of plastic figurines, toys, and other childhood-reminiscent objects rendered in virtuoso painterly surfaces and materiality. Despite his sophisticated art training, Housley chooses to stay in the frame of mind and style of a genuine romantic.

Dima Gutov’s (Moscow, 1960) relationship to painting is more distant and conceptual compared to the other participating artists in the show. He came to painting after working with large-scale installations and video. Although his paintings are figurative, they usually refer to television, photography, or cinema, and not to the forgotten tradition of realistic painting.

Behind Pere Llobera’s (Barcelona, 1970) images are often personal narratives which are highly symbolic and psychologically charged. With matte, fresco-like surfaces, an earthy palette and oneiric images, Llobera’s paintings appear as life through the hazy lens of a sleepwalker.

The traveler, spectator and comedian in the works ofAndrei Roiter (Moscow, 1960) represent his views on the identity of the Artist in the world. His paintings are less assertive icons than they are poetic, absurdist reflections.


Künstler: Ross Chisholm, Rezi van Lankveld, Paul Housley, Dmitry Gutov, Pere Llobera

Kurator: Andrei Roiter