Manuel Graf / Shaan Syed

Opening, Wednesday 24 August 2016, 18–20 h

Shaan Syed (CAN)
Manuel Graf (D)
left: Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images, 2016, oil, acrylic and industrial filler on canvas, 45 x 60 cm
right: Manuel Graf, Girl a with Battleship, 2016, wood and ceramics (raku), 50 x 40 x 10 cm
Manuel Graf works with juxtapositions of different, indeed incompatible, models and materials. In putting theory and practice to the test, both material and model frequently disintegrate. Engaging with topics that are founded in the political here and now he examines social questions using widely varied media, from ceramics to 3D animation.

Shaan Syed’s work deals with his own ancestry, language and personal history and how these influence his painting. In his pictures he brings emotions onto a formal level, emotions between which he identifies specific power relations, such as desire, longing, hate, love and happiness. For Syed, painting is imperfect, volatile and unpredictable. His works tip between abstraction and representation, attraction and repulsion. In Syed’s eyes the act of painting is paradoxical: material is applied in order to reveal.

Both artists are deeply engaged in questions of origins, culture, the past and future. The bluescreen setting supplied locates their works within a neutral environment. The blue surroundings offer the viewer a space in which to project. Where are we? In the past? In the future? Or in an space emptied for our own interpretations?

Manuel Graf arbeitet mit einem Nebeneinander verschiedener, ja sogar unvereinbarer Modelle und Materialien. Beim Erproben an Theorie und Praxis lösen sich Material und Modell nicht selten auf. Engagiert mit Themen, die im politischen Hier und Jetzt verankert sind, prüft er soziale Fragen anhand verschiedenster Medien: von der Keramik bis zur 3D-Animation.

Shaan Syed beschäftigt sich in seiner Arbeit mit der eigenen Herkunft, Sprache und persönlicher Geschichte und wie dies Malerei beeinflusst. In Syed’s Worten, “All paintings say ‘here is a painting’ and ‘you are here’ and so, all paintings are signs; signs for everything that stands behind them and signs for everything they point towards.” Die formale Sprache seiner Bilder beruht auf der persönlichen Auseinandersetzung mit der Geschichte der abstrakten Malerei. Für Syed ist Malerei imperfekt, unbeständig und unvorhersehbar und stellt die Frage danach, wie etablierte Betrachtungsweisen auf unsere Wahrnehmung und heutige Malerei einwirkt.

Beide Künstler beschäftigen sich intensiv mit Fragen nach Herkunft, Kultur, Vergangenheit und Zukunft. Das vorgegebene Bluescreen-Setting bettet die Werke in eine neutrale Umgebung ein. Die blaue Umgebung ist Projektionsraum für den Betrachter. Wo befinden wir uns? In der Vergangenheit? in der Zukunft? Oder in einem Leerraum für eigene Interpretationen?
Manuel Graf born 1978 in Bühl DE, lives and works in Düsseldorf DE. He graduated at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from the class of Magdalena Jetelová & Rita McBride. He won numerous awards like the Nam June Paik Award 2014, Audi Art Award 2010 and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris 2009. Recently Graf curated together with Hans-Jürgen Hafner the transhistoric exhibition The Art of the Turks at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, which was widely reviewed.
Selected exhibitions: 2016 Nam Jun Paik Award, Folkwang Museum DE (upcoming); People‘s cinema, Salzburger Kunstverein AT; 2015 Modell Kunstverein, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein DE; @theshrink, Shanaynay, Paris FR; 2014 Doppelganger, Sammlung Ludwig, Bamberg DE; Your Doppelganger, VAN HORN, Düsseldorf DE; 2013 Commercials, Mosques & Ceramics, Kunsthaus Baselland CH; Shelly Silver, South London Gallery UK; Diplomats and martyrs, German House, London UK, with Rita McBride; Transfer, MMCA, Seoul KOR; 2012 Ils sont fous ces romains, Kunstverein Hamburg DE; Deux questions posée à Mme Dogdo, Gaudel de Stampa, Paris FR; 2011 Kosmos Steiner, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart DE; Kosmos Steiner, DOX, Center for Contemporary Art, Prague CZ; Exhibition of Travels, Atelier Galata, Istanbul TUR; 2010 La Méditerranée, Etablissement d‘en face, Brussel BE; Buchtipp2, Johann König, Berlin DE; Buchtipp2, Performance Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf DE;

Shaan Syed born 1975 in Toronto CAN, lives and works in London UK. He studied Fine Arts at Concordia University, Montreal CAN and holds a Diploma from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, CAN as well as a MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Selected exhibitions: 2016 John Moores Painting Prize, UK; Shaan Syed and Sam Windett, Patrick De Brock Gallery, Knokke BE; 2015 I & I, Kunsthalle Winterthur CH; Licking Forward Tangerine, noshowspace, London UK; The Violet Crab, cur. by Than Hussein Clarke and Vincent Honoré, David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF), London UK; New Century Abstracts, cur. by Carla Garnet, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Peterborough and Thames Art Gallery, Chatham-Kent CAN; 2014 CAPITAL!, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin DE; One Minus One, Ana Cristea Gallery, New York USA; On White, Geukens & DeVil, Antwerp and Knokke BE; Emergency 6 Biennial, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth UK; 2013; Shaan Tariq Hassan-Syed, Birch Libralato, Toronto CAN; Synesthesium, with Benjamin Brett and Stuart Cumberland, Ana Cristea Gallery, New York USA; 2011 Fade Away, Transition Gallery and Gallery North, University of Northumbria UK; In-between, Doris McCarthy Gallery at the University of Toronto CAN; 2010 Fifteen, cur. by Louise Hutchinson and George Henry Longly, S1 Artspace, Sheffield UK; Addendum, La Salle de Bains, Lyon FR; Jerwood Contemporary Painters 2010, Jerwood Space, London UK; 2008 ArtFutures 2008, Bloomberg Space, London UK; Foreground Background, cur. by Swapna Tamhane, Elementa Gallery, Dubai; 2007 wearetheartists, cur. by Oliver Kielmayer, International Biennale of Contemporary Art, National Gallery, Prague CZ.