Drawing Prize 2023 nominations: Pascal Leyder, Mehrdad Rashidi, Melvin Way

Drawing Prize 2023 nominations: Pascal Leyder, Mehrdad Rashidi, Melvin Way

Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation

Left: Pascal Leyder, Untitled. Mixed media on paper, 40 x 53 cm. Courtesy Escale Nomade, Paris. © André Morin, Middle: Mehrdad Rashidi, Untitled, 2015. Mixed media on found paper, 11.8 x 7.8 cm. Courtesy Henry Boxer Gallery Richmond (UK). © André Morin. Right: Melvin Way, Lyreeverette. Ball-point pen on paper, 11.4 x 10.2 cm. Courtesy Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York. © André Morin.

December 16, 2022
Drawing Prize 2023 nominations: Pascal Leyder, Mehrdad Rashidi, Melvin Way
December 15, 2022
Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation
88 boulevard Malesherbes
75008 Paris

T +33 6 44 13 99 14

On December 15, 2022 at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, Daniel and Florence Guerlain have announced the names of the three nominated artists for the 16th Drawing Prize dedicated to outsider art.

Pascal Leyder, Belgium artist, born in 1988 in Bastogne. He first attended La “S” Grand Atelier, in Vielsalm (Belgium) in 2008 and today works in its studio on a regular basis. He collaborated on the “Choolers Noise Project”, drawing live on stage accompanied by Outsider music. His works are now in the collections of the Lam (Villeneuved’Ascq), the Museum Docteur Guislain (Ghent), the Museum of Everything (London), the Musée des Arts modestes (Sète), abcd (Montreuil) and the Bruno Decharme Donation at the Mnam-Centre Pompidou, Paris. His drawings frequently appear in collective comics and graphic magazines published, for example, by Le Dernier Cri and Frémok.

Admiring the world of cartography and other forms of pop art illustrations, Pascal Leyder offers his own very personal interpretation of them, combining moments from his private life with a vision of the universe outside of time. To say that drawing is as vital as breathing to an artist may sound like a cliche, but for Leyder it is true. Everyday, at home or at La “S” Grand Atelier, where he is a resident, he tirelessly covers large sheets of paper using felt-tip pens, swiftly and insatiably. Inspired by multiple works, maps or plans found in the library of La “S” Grand Atelier - Centre d’Art Brut & Contemporain, he uses them as a source or matrix for invitations to a journey. He may add éléments from his daily life and emotions that nourish him, including those stimulated by friendship and love. The first draft is always the last. The artist never reworks or corrects his drawings. He covers the entire surface of his support abundantly, multiplying the lines or magnifying his own signature, with which he occasionally begins to work. Leyder’s tastes are eclectic. He doesn’t shy away from comics and graphic novels in popular culture. Quite the opposite. He has exchanged drawings with the artist Pakito Bonilo for several years. He also loves the Harry Potter films, which he goes to see at the cinema with his family. A child born in the age of screens, used to the moving images of television and tablets, he has learnt to observe the different modes of representation. He scrutinises them or extracts certain details from them, although his rapid, vigorous or raw lines may not always reproduce them frontally in his own work. Leyder sketches figures and crowds whose faces are scrawled, as well as frank, assertive, quasi-robotised characters. He also depicts animals or hybrid creatures, adding phrases with mysterious meanings (…) Yet any interpretation has to be made here by the spectator, since Leyder says very little in words, preferring to express himself through the medium of drawing.*

Mehrdad Rashidi, Iranian artist , born in Sari in 1963. He left his native country at the age of 20. He travelled through Pakistan and Afghanistan, before reaching Russia, where he studied journalism. He settled in Germany in 2006, and now lives and works near Düsseldorf. Although he practised it as a child, he only began drawing again in 2006. In 2013, he won the Grand Prix Award for Marginal Art at the 16th Belgrade Biennale of Naïve and Marginal Art and took part in the 3rd Jagodina Triennale (Serbia). His works are now found in the Collection of Art Brut (Lausanne) and the Bruno Decharme Donation at the Mnam-Centre Pompidou, Paris. Represented by the Henry Boxer Gallery (Richmond, UK).

Through figures incessantly multiplied and evocations of landscapes or seascapes, Mehrdad Rashidi conjures up memories of his native Iran, mixed with poems and musical references, hovering between hope and nostalgia. At first glance, the subjects handled are not immediately evident, even though one sees several faces, of veiled women in particular, as well as hybrid creatures, birds, views and architecture. Rashidi uses tiny unbroken circles forming lines to build his universes, not only working in small formats but also stretches of paper up to several metres wide. Thus, as in a story within a story or a contemporary game of consequences, he charts a narrative in his flowery language, gradually unfolding the sheet of paper. Other supports include pages from books or maps, which act as hosts for the themes that provide the keys to the artist’s life history. Iran, the land that he fled so long ago, remains omnipresent in his thoughts. He follows the country’s current affairs, listens to its music and adds written phrases to his slender lines. They may come from his favourite authors, Forough Farrokhzad and Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, or poems he himself started writing at the age of eight. (…) Rashidi wants his work to speak for itself, like a musical symphony that acts on our feelings with no explanation necessary. Adopting the precepts of the prophet Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrianism circa 1000 BC, he adheres to this celebration of all living creatures and places animals on a level with humankind.*

Melvin Way, American artist, born in South Carolina in 1954. Entrusted to a relative, he was raised in Brooklyn, where he attended the Technical Career Institute, but left before finishing his studies. After a chaotic interlude, he began drawing in the late 1980s. He still lives in Brooklyn. His works are now in the collections of MoMA (New York), the Smithsonian (Washington), abcd (Montreuil), the Collection de l’Art Brut (Lausanne), the American Visionary Art Museum (Baltimore), Treger-Saint Silvestre (Porto), as well as being part of the Bruno Decharme Donation at the Mnam-Centre Pompidou (Paris). Represented by the Andrew Edlin Gallery (New York) and the Galerie Christian Berst (Paris).

Passionate about science and mathematical formulae, Melvin Way observes and analyses humanity, producing numerous talismans that protect him throughout his life. Following Melvin Way’s career means delving into the matrix of New York…plunging into Brooklyn of the 1960s, where he grew up, before landing on Ward’s Island, where he was homeless for a while, until he took refuge in a psychiatric hospital. This was where he met artist and workshop leader Andrew Castrucci, who encouraged him to explore his emerging creativity. He gradually developed a universe composed of thousands of bits of paper covered in writing, letters or numbers, most often in black and white, but also in blue, green, red or pink. Over the past few years, he has taken increasingly more liberties both with colour, using felt-tip pens or ink, and the notion of space, lightening his symbols still drawn on very small formats. They contain real or magical scientific formulae, which man may easily explain, even if he enhances his message with mystical remarks about his many lives and trades. Claiming, for instance, to have been President of the United States more than thirty times; though only 68 years of age today, he says he will turn 473 next year. This enables him to observe and wonder about the world, believing that he has purchased several countries, such as Puerto Rico, or cities like New York. (…) Driven only by his own reflections, for several years—whether by chance or because of his genius—he has bordered on questioning sexual orientation, gender and even raciality. Which leads him towards a far wider dialogue on solitude and finitude. Having experienced it when living on the streets, Way talks about the fact of being invisible and expresses it in his deliberately complex and hard-to-decipher formulae. Without having had any formal artistic training, he visits museums and churches, lingering in front of Old Master paintings. Believing he is on an equal footing with them, together with his sense of temporal fantasy, he may imply that he is the author of certain paintings (he claims to be the hand of Rembrandt), before returning to his countless drawings, which are both his refuge and his protection.*

*extracts from texts by Marie Maertens.

An exhibition of works by the three shortlisted artists will be presented at the Salon du Dessin from the March 22 to 27, 2023 (Palais Brongniart, Place de la Bourse, Paris). The jury will meet on March 23 at the Salon du Dessin and the winner will be announced the same day at noon.

The members of the jury are: Karin Dammann, Swiss, Antoine de Galbert, French, Gustavo Giacosa, Italian-Argentine, Sébastien Lebrec, French, Kalle Levon, American, Laurence Poirel, French, Giovanni Springmeier, German, Florence & Daniel Guerlain, French.

About the Prize
Awarded for the first time in 2007 and biennial until 2009, the Prize honours artists who make any unique work on paper, using graphic means: crayon, charcoal, red chalk, ink, wash tint, gouache, watercolour, pastels and felt… including collages and wall drawings but excluding computer and mechanical processes. The Prize concerns artists for whom drawing on paper or cardboard is a significant part of their work.

The three artists nominated each year by a committee of six experts may be of French or foreign nationality on condition that they entertain a privileged cultural link with France through institutional exhibitions, studies or being in residence there.

Following a working meeting with the artists, visits to studios and analysis, the committee selects three artists whose work is presented to a jury that changes with each prize and chooses the winner.

The Prize’s endowment is 25,000 EUR: 15,000 EUR for the laureate and 5,000 EUR for each of the two other artists. A work by the winner is offered,  by the Foundation to the National nuseum of modern art, Prints and Drawings Department.

The prize receives the support of “Le Cercle des Amis”, la Maison Guerlain, la banque Neuflize OBC, Artcurial, Artprice by ArtMarket.com, Voisin Consulting Life Sciences, le Groupe Élysées Monceau, le Groupe Pasteur Mutualité, PatrimOne assurances, Arte Generali, Le Salon du Dessin, Les Beaux-Arts de Paris, La Maison Ruinart, Dynaprint.

Past laureates: 2022: Olga Chernysheva, Russia / 2021: Françoise Pétrovitch (France) / 2020: Juan Uslé (Spain) / 2019: Claire Morgan (Ireland) / 2018: Mamma Andersson (Sweden) / 2017: Ciprian Muresan (Romania) / 2016: Cameron Jamie (United States) / 2015: Jockum Nordström (Sweden) / 2014: Tomasz Kowalski (Poland) / 2013: Susan Hefuna (Egypt, Germany) / 2012: Jorinde Voigt (Germany) / 2011: Marcel Van Eeden (Netherlands) / 2010: Catharina Van Eetvelde (Belgium) / 2009: Sandra Vasquez de la Horra (Chile) / 2007: Silvia Bächli (Switzerland).

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December 16, 2022

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