Still from Self Portrait, 1980, Jonas Mekas
The Great Americans, 2010-2020, Jac Lavah
Drawn In, 2016-17, Anne Muntges
Monira Foundation is proud to present an important exhibition in an exciting venue, with participation from a number of prominent collectors. Running at KuBe from October 23 through November 21 2021, Artist as Subject is a wide-ranging exploration of the portrait, under an expansive new definition that includes the oblique artistic reference as a mode of portraiture itself.
The Mana Collection contributes a rarely seen 20-minute film, Self Portrait (1980), by Jonas Mekas. In it, the godfather of avant-garde cinema offers 360° views of his face, with and without his hat, and speaks directly to the camera, describing his “personal, autobiographical, real-life” approach to filmmaking.
Among the works on view from the collection of Ethan Cohen is a 1980 self-portrait by Yuan Yunsheng, depicting the artist seated, paint-spattered trousers crossed at the knee, arms folded behind his head, limbs jutting into each of the four corners of the canvas. His expression of subdued triumph would have been justified: just a year prior to the painting’s completion, Yuan had unveiled a mural, Water-Splashing Festival: An Ode to Life, that was heralded as a symbol of China’s new freedom from the aesthetic mores of the Cultural Revolution and its emergence into contemporaneity.
Another segment of the exhibition contains works contributed by the figuration focused collection of Eileen S. Kaminsky, founder of Eskff, the Eileen S Kaminsky Family Foundation, including Yayoi Kusama, and Ida Applebroog, among others.
Israeli-born artist Yigal Ozeri has painted portraits of the Eileen S. Kaminsky collection artists, which are presented alongside figurative works by the hand of the subjects themselves. One vignette pairs Ozeri’s painting of George Condo with a drawing of a woman’s head by Condo, and links Condo’s drawing to its stylistic antecedent, a drawing of a woman by Pablo Picasso. Condo’s admiration for the late Spaniard is evident both in the neo-Cubist paintings depicted in the background of Ozeri’s portrait and in the geometric similarities between the two drawings, from the rigid spindles of the figures’ eyelashes to their cuneiform noses. For good measure, an Ozeri portrait of Picasso is also included in the exhibition.
Curator Ysabel Pinyol Blasi, who is also Executive Director of the Monira Foundation, said, “Leon Battista Alberti famously linked the origins of painting to the myth of Narcissus: like the ill-fated youth, the artist is transfixed by–and transfixes us via–their own vision as it appears upon a flat surface. I invite the public to contemplate the notion of portraiture as a quasi-distorted reflection of reality, the canvas as a mirror, the subject as reified by the gaze of the artist.”
The exhibition spans several floors of the former public school, however it is on view for a very limited time. Other featured artists include Aboudia, Lili Almog, Hannah van Bart, Armand Boua, Clayton Brothers, Frederic Bruly Bouabre, Gunter Brus, Sandro Chia, Shi Chong, Sante D’Orazio, Zhang Dali, Ben Degen, Gu Dexin, Carroll Dunham, Max Ferguson, Helen Frankenthaler, Angela Gram, Erika Harrsch, Julie Heffernan, Tang Hui, Sui Jianguo, Wu Junyong, Alex Katz, Jon Kessler, Benjamin Keating, Sigalit Landau, Jac Lahav, Eugene Lemay, Basmat Levin, Fang Lijun, Shen Ling, Xiao Lu, Chi Ming, Catheris Mondombo, Anne Muntges, Antonio Murado, John Newsom, Gonzalo Pedraza, Gerhard Richter, Osvaldo Romberg, Michal Rovner, Matt Saunders, Edwin Schlossberg, Allison Schulnik, Dana Schutz, Cindy Sherman, Malick Sidibé, Ray Smith, Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave, Christian Vincent, Bill Viola, David Wakstein, Ai Weiwei, Bernard Williams, Liu Xiaodong, Zhang Xiaogang, Liu Xiaohui, Zhou Xiaohui, Peng Yu and Sun Yuan, Wang Yuping, and Qi Zhilong.
Works on view are on loan from Mana Collection LLC, Ethan Cohen, the Eileen S. Kaminsky, and Doron Sebbag.