Art Intelligence Global, Nassima Landau Art Foundation, and Seojung Art are delighted to present an exhibition of 15 new works by Guy Yanai from June 28 – July 31, 2023 in Seojung Art, Seoul. Titled Blue Hour, this exhibition will be Guy Yanai’s first solo exhibition in Asia.
“Hence Proust’s assertion that the greatness of works of art has nothing to do with apparent quality of their subject matter, and everything to do with the subsequent treatment of that matter. And hence his associated claims that everything is potentially a fertile subject for art and that we can make discoveries as valuable in an advertisement for soap as in Pascal’s Pensées.” - Alain de Botton on Marcel Proust
Alain de Botton’s words on Marcel Proust encapsulate a fundamental aspect of Guy Yanai’s artistic practice – in his paintings, ordinary objects and mundane moments are carefully attended through the artist’s iconic style and color palette. Yanai flattens and abstracts everyday scenes, while his brushstrokes lend the artworks a unique volume. The works are about the painter’s treatment of his subject matter, which may originate from various semantic fields – high or low, particular or universal.
The same reasoning can be applied to Yanai’s fascination with the cinematic image. There, too, he is drawn to multiple themes and scenes – It is the manner in which human figures, still-life objects, and the scenery come together; the juxtaposition of bodies, objects, and colors; the textures that compose the everyday, that inspire him. His oeuvre revolves around shape and color, the painterly process, and the moment an object becomes an artwork. It sits on the fine line between the subject and its interpretive portrayal. “Blue Hour”, in this sense, is an epitome of the everyday as perceived from a painterly perspective – a daily occurrence of twilight that diffuses soft blue light, coloring its surroundings in hues that instill a serene atmosphere and emotion. The works, exhibited for the first time, are specifically influenced by film shots by Éric Rohmer, characterized by long descriptions of quotidian activities immersed in bright sunlight and picturesque setting.
In this new body of work, Yanai introduces a novel subject matter – text. Intrigued by the relation between text and image in cinema – such as the word “fin” that bluntly appears in the final shot of a movie – the artist explores and experiments with text in a similar fashion to the way he manipulates objects and cinematic scenes. He examines the lines, their curves, volume, and movement, and treats them as an additional layer of visual information, color, and shape. In other works, Yanai quotes notable artworks or visual imagery, appropriating them using his identifiable style in a manner that allows the viewer to rethink these artworks, their aesthetics, and their meaning. As a whole, this new series invites us to contemplate and reevaluate the gestures, forms, and colors constituting our daily lives.
Guy Yanai (b. 1977) lives and works between Tel Aviv, Israel and Marseille, France. His works are included in numerous public and private collections, such as Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Rema Hort Mann Foundation, New York; Anita Zabludowicz Collection, London and Robert and Renee Drake Collection, Wassenaar among others. His recent solo exhibitions took place in König Galerie, Berlin (2022), Miles McEnery Gallery, New York (2021) and Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf (2020).
Guy Yanai: Blue Hour