Guy Yanai

Guy Yanai

Velan Centro d’Arte Contemporanea

Guy Yanai, Battle of San Romano II, 2012. Oil on linen, 200 x 230 cm. Painting reproduction by Elad Sarig.

April 7, 2013

Guy Yanai
Battle, Therapy, Living Room
April 11–June 1, 2013

Velan Centro d’Arte Contemporanea
Via Saluzzo 64 – 10125 Torino

T +39 011 28 04 06
info [​at​]

Curated by Noam Segal

On Thursday, April 11 at 6:30pm, Velan Center is proud to present Battle, Therapy, Living Room, Guy Yanai’s first solo exhibition in Italy, in collaboration with nonprofit art space Rothschild 69, Tel Aviv, Israel, curated by Noam Segal. The Battle of San Romano is a triptych painted by Paolo Uccello, describing the battle between the fighters of Florence and Siena at three different points in time on the day of the battle in 1432. This triptych is at the center of Yanai’s exhibition, which addresses the day-to-day atheist struggle in contemporary society.

The works in the exhibition deal with spatial experience. Yanai creates an external, eerie scrutiny of his most intimate spaces, yet acts as a stranger to them. Being a stranger is forever “otherness”; the stranger is the contradictory of what is natural to us.

In the works, we find the artist outside his domestic spaces whilst creating for the viewer a hodological space; a multi-trail space, with various meshed ramifications, associative paths and itineraries, contexts and entries on the conceptual as well as the physical and geographical levels.

The paint surfaces in the works are applied in a non-hierarchical manner, and fill the canvas like a map, without differentiation of depth. They are not constructing a genealogy, but create the paths and the conflict, the emotional state and ethical situations. Thus, the conflict and its various ramifications arise from the abstract image via the radical use of color. The power struggles are fought over the canvas, over the territory, on the same terrain, in a manner prior to physical borders and specific contours. They produce flat, yet emotional, alternative territorial signifiers of those power struggles.

In his previous exhibitions, Yanai exhibited mainly the paintings of objects, commodities, and branded consumer products. He represented them by indifferent abstraction, by an abysmal banality, without marvel or aggrandizement. They became an indexical sequence, synthetic, mechanical and duplicated, partaking in the range of commodities.

The abstraction of the images, of the various objects and indoor spaces acts as a struggle with, and a protest against them. By turning them into non-concrete and stripping them of a particular identity, a system of resistance comes into being. The visual abstraction of various commodities can function as a struggle, the purpose of which is to unveil the multitude, the qualities of our common existence, and collective being. For “if the false object is the truth, fantasizing about it as an abstract display, constitutes resistance.”

In his current exhibition, Yanai abstraction takes over the entire space that surrounds these commodities, thus turning the domestic space into a battlefield over a living space. The limitations of physical space alter the battle into a zero-sum game, a struggle over the space assigned to one at the expense of the other. Thus, Yanai, armed with abstraction as a method of resistance, shifts in his last exhibitions from the private conflict over a way of life, to a personal struggle over living room and a greater battle over human space.

Guy Yanai was born in 1977 in Haifa, Israel. Raised and educated in Boston, New York, and Amherst, he currently lives and works in Tel Aviv. Recent solo exhibitions include Battle Therapy Living Room at Rothschild 69 art space, First We Feel The We Fall at Alon Segev Gallery, Four Guys In A Subaru Drinking Grape-juice at the Spaceship at HaYarkon 70. Recent groups exhibitions include Domesticated Souls at A.L.I.C.E Brussels, Sense of the Mediterranean at Hangar Bicocca Milan, and Ashdod Museum of Art.  Forthcoming projects in 2013 include group shows in the U.S and Europe, a collaboration with Band of Outsiders, and a solo show at La Montagne Gallery in Boston.

We would like to thank the Embassy of Israel in Rome, nonprofit art space Rothschild 69 and Alon Segev Gallery, Tel Aviv. The show will be on view from April 11 to June 1, from Wednesday to Saturday, 3:30pm to 7:30pm.

Paolo Uccello, The Battle of San Romano, egg tempera on wooden panels, 1432.
A concept instigated by Kurt Lewin (1890—1947) to describe the various paths in the space of human life.
Negri, Antonio (2009), Art and Multitude, p 30.


Guy Yanai at Velan Centro d’Arte Contemporanea
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Velan Centro d’Arte Contemporanea
April 7, 2013

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