Yan Pei-Ming summons up immediate history through careful observation of media images.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is pleased to announce its first exhibition by Chinese-born French artist Yan Pei-Ming. It is several years now since his work was last presented in a French gallery. The exhibition Help! will be built around several of the artist’s characteristic genres. Portraits, history painting and vanities will be presented on the three floors of our gallery in the Marais.
In the main gallery space, the secular themes of war and peace will come face to face in both a dialectical and a painterly confrontation. On the gallery’s other two floors, there are works on paper, and an iconic figure is the subject of oil portraits.
Yan Pei-Ming summons up immediate history through careful observation of media images. His transformation of these images into huge-scale oil paintings gives a historical dimension to current affairs that is reminiscent of the scandal that greeted Géricault's Raft of the Medusa. The beholder is confronted by the immediacy of an image of historical potential. But the absence of distance gives rise to doubt, to questions and emotion. The exhibition Help! will take on themes peculiar to 'history painting' as well as themes taken from significant current events like the war in Libya or scenes of land and air combat.
“I am reminded once again of Manet and Goya as I stand in front of these works by Yan Pei-Ming – of them more than any other artist because of their constant evocation of the disasters of war, the use of black and white, their devotion to painting. (…) After Marat, lying murdered on the white linen of his bathtub, the procession of the executed and the assassinated stretches forth: Saddam Hussein, Lee Harvey Oswald, John and Robert Kennedy, Gandhi, Che Guevara, Aldo Moro, Martin Luther King, the good and the evil, all on their way, with holes in their bodies, naked, all labelled for the morgue. Always the same story, Yan Pei-Ming tells us. But the story needs its teller, someone with the stature to draw it all together, to pin it down and denounce it, using the tried and tested weapon of paint.” (Henri Loyrette, foreword of the exhibition catalogue)
A catalogue containing new essays by Henri Loyrette and Robert Fleck will be published to accompany the exhibition.
Yan Pei-Ming studied at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Dijon. He lives and works between Dijon and Ivry-sur-Seine. Recent exhibitions include Painting the History, at the Doha Museum (Qatar), and Les Funérailles de Monna Lisa, at the Musée du Louvre, Paris.