Navid Nuur - Galerie Max Hetzler

Opening: 27 January, 6-9 pm

Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to announce the exhibition A&N&D with new works by Navid Nuur in Bleibtreustrasse 45.

Navid Nuur’s exhibition brings together new productions and recent iterations of the artist’s serial projects in a study of perceptual elasticity: of how eye and mind negotiate displacement or reversal, of how attention and affect respond to objects that seem to be in the wrong place, or seen from the wrong angle. A&N&D is both title of the show and a user’s guide of sorts: a model for visual and mental processes where connections arise out of connections, and formal or interpretive correlations unfold in concentric circles. One imagines that a phrase in which “a&n&d” would function as conjunction would be interrupted – or perhaps structured – by moments of reverie, slowed down by pauses for breath, unforeseen ramifications and parentheses devoted to what its words might obscure or elide. Similarly, the “phrase” of this exhibition is articulated as a sequence of feedback and feed-ahead, folding together what its components mean and their physical or sensuous charge.  

A photograph having at its centre the entrance to a cave – a mouth of flickering darkness that Nuur describes as the prehistoric experience of the monochrome – is first laser-cut in wood and then cast in bronze, so that material, technical and representational components revolve around the blackness of the geological recess, the colour and shape of negative space: an abyss Nuur’s representational strategies outline, only to become indistinguishable, lost in it. Another work functions as a display case for left-overs from the artist’s studio, composing a picture out of all that his other pictures did not necessitate (or have produced as debris), and commenting wryly on the notion of remainder, as that which falls off the register of art or is unable to carry the true expression of a self. Similar preoccupations are engaged from a different angle in a work that features a vase holding fresh flowers. Nuur’s ceramic vase is glazed with the rest of the rest: the glaze incorporates ash collected from facilities that incinerate waste from the city of Berlin. That which an urban metabolism expels, the very stuff of collective indifference and anonymity, is twice transmuted via fire and employed as the distinctive visual sign of the work.

A painting is executed with Vitamin D mixed with water, in a manner that suggests a mechanical dispersal of liquid, rather than the manifestation of a personal pictorial style. As Vitamin D is produced in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, the “skin” of this painting can be said to have reacted to the very light that exists between itself and the viewer, to assimilate the conditions of luminosity and intelligibility that allow it to exist. A&N&D builds up intriguing simultaneities – seeing one object through another and the middle through the sides – and zigzagging correspondences between perceptual alertness and its hazy limits; it knots together margins, backsides and oblique glances, the actual and metaphorical borders of the space of the exhibition.

– Mihnea Mircan, 2016

At the same time, Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to present recent photographs by Rineke Dijkstra in Goethestrasse 2/3.

Navid Nuur was born 1976 in Teheran and currently lives and works in The Hague, Netherlands. Nuur studied at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam and Plymouth University. His work was presented in several solo and group exhibitions at international institutions, such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Art Stations Foundation, Poznan (both 2016); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Kunsthalle Kiel, Kiel; Bienal de la Habana, Havana (all 2015); DCA Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee; Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Budapest (both 2014); Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; Parasol Unit, London (both 2013); Matadero, Madrid (2012); Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (both 2011). Nuur's works form part of renowned collections, such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; S.M.A.K., Ghent and Koç, Istanbul.

Excerpt from an email, December 2016:

Dear Samia and Max,

As you know, my works (drawings, sculptures, prints, photos, installations, etc.) are best described as modules of thought, which I call ‘interimodules’. They articulate a way of thinking attuned to the temporary, in-between state of things, and are concerned with their brief existence and interconnected nature.

Similar to the way the works in this exhibition present residual information as information created through a combination of time, light and location, I don’t so much wish to strike a universal chord with the viewer as expose it in the collection of works as a whole.

One example is the paintings I made based on notes found in stationery stores around the world – from Berlin to Japan. The doodles on them are a spontaneous and ephemeral form of primal expression. I try to understand (and capture) their universal quality as an abstract language that connects us all – rather than ignore or aestheticise it.

During our conversation with Albert Oehlen this summer, I said that painting has long since stopped being about what you see – it’s about how you see it. That’s why I also wanted to make a painting made solely from what is indispensable for even viewing a painting – i.e. light.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve managed to finish a work that uses light itself as a pigment that has materialised on the canvas.

This material transformation can also be seen in the ceramic object included in the exhibition. I had to train for months to realise this work. I will be making other ceramic works in the future – I feel this discipline has more conceptual alchemy to offer. In addition, I have used my body as a point of departure for a large mural work that visualises what you see when you shut your eyes. The fact that you can keep looking with your eyes closed has always fascinated me. When all your visual input is removed, what are you actually looking at?

The same applies to the posters that are put up in cities all over the world. They have a special opaque coating on the back to prevent the background from showing through. By taking a picture of the rear of these so-called blueback posters and printing the enlarged image as a new poster, I hope to transform this functional element into a sensory experience for passers-by. You don’t mind me papering your walls, right?

The 20 works in the exhibition all have one thing in common: the sensing, experiencing and questioning of the relationship between one’s interior world and the world outside. Particularly in this digital age, these works are actually completed by their presence in the physical space. It’s not about getting lost in translation, but about the translation that is lost.

You asked me for some extra text to accompany the various works. I’ll be sending something shortly. But I’ll try to write something that is in tune with the exhibition itself, because a heart can no longer beat once you’ve looked inside.

– Navid Nuur

Further exhibitions:

Suave na nave        
21 January – 4 March 2017
Opening: 21 January, 6–8 pm
57, rue du Temple 75004 Paris

Rineke Dijkstra
27 January – 4 March 2017           
Opening: 27 January, 6–9 pm
Goethestrasse 2/3, Berlin-Charlottenburg

Press contact:
Galerie Max Hetzler
Berlin: +49 30 346 497 85-0
Paris: +33 1 57 40 60 80