PHOTO: © Dominik Lejman, The Pink Curtain (Reenactments with Bianca O'Brien), 2023, acrylic on canvas, video projection, 110 x 80 x 90 cm

Dominik Lejman - Step Aside

In the organizer's words:
During the Gallery Weekend Berlin, Persons Projects will be presenting Dominik Lejman’s solo exhibition Step Aside. Lejman is known to challenge the definitions of artistic disciplines, and so, this eclectic selection of works expand the potential of canvased surfaces and screens. By combining paintings with video projections, he has created his own medium that does not only overcome the limitations of painting, but initiates a new dialogue in how to perceive it.  As one of the most established multimedia concept artists, Lejman has been exhibiting in numerous international shows and received, amongst others, the prestigious prize of the Akademie der Künste in 2018 for redefining the medium of painting.
To fully understand the visual realms of Dominik Lejman, it is important to know that his artworks can never be reduced neither to their physical form nor to the traditional understanding of the used media. Since his graduation as a painter from the Royal College of Art London, in 1995, Lejman has been exploring for the most significant way to articulate his critical visions. Stimulated by the boundaries of painting, Lejman has combined the surface of painting with layers of video projections for over two decades. Since then, he has been conceptually experimenting with painting and time-based media – leading to a kaleidoscope of different, often socially engaged narratives that enfold both in space and time.     
In recent years, Lejman has often engaged in wider collaborations with other artists. These projects require meticulous preparation as well as an immense amount of respect and trust for one another. Works such as The Pink Curtain (Reenactment with Bianca O’Brien) and Partition (with Maria Colusi), testify the results of fruitful artistic exchanges. The created harmonic symbiosis generates the full meaning of the artwork, for painting to serve as the stage, for the video projection to create a palimpsest of the missing performance.
In his play with convention and genres, Lejman equally questions the unquestionable for the most and sees no problem in the problematic – where his painting remains the screen for negotiation, to quote the artist: "The show Step Aside is about the non-central gaze and the concept of anamorphism reframing the power of centrality – harnessing our perception in painting and visual culture in general.” By this, the artist invites you to take a 'step aside' – in order to gain new perspectives in how to interpret our relation with artworks, thereby initiating the process of questioning one’s own, so far unquestionable, 'central position'.

For the series When Painting Becomes Attitude Lejman collaborated with the Argentinian dancer and choreographer Maria Colusi. Following their intuition as seasoned artists, nothing about the final works were pre-planned. Lejman’s and Colusi’s flexibility and use of mixed media not only speaks to the confinements of each medium on their own, but allowed them to create a multifaceted body of work. The dancer’s movements complete the dark minimalistic paintings in a most complete way – as the choreography incorporates the shape of the canvas, thereby putting an even bigger empathise on the form and painting's surface.

For the project titled Reenactment Lejman started a collaboration with the British performer and model Bianca O’Brien. Initially created as part of the off-Venice Biennale pavilion Madnicity in 2022, the series displays a constructive discourse on stereotypes and common beliefs about mental disorders. Here, Lejman paired up his paintings with ephemeral ghostly scenes of a female figure, based both on religious representation in art history and photographic archives of the former mental hospital at San Servolo. The body is being presented as an object, directed frontally by a pair of hands, wrapped in a white cloth that seems to represent both a straightjacket, and a cloth taken directly from the Baroque tenebristic painting. The ephemeral projection emphasize the innovative hybrid form of Lejman’s works – stressing the absence of representation. Leaving behind the canvas to be looked at, 'the projected absence' makes it evident that the painting is far more than just the projection surface.  

The apparent absence of projections in his most recent works – as may seem as the return to traditional painting – is an incorrect assumption. There is a conscious shift as the painterly surfaces are pulled back into the foreground – not as a projection screen per se, but as a mirror of his artistic reflections and unique creative expressions. This intention complements itself through unconventional and perspectively driven geometric canvas dimensions that articulate a new form of Lejman’s expansive creations. Staying true to his abstract minimalistic aesthetics, the figurative appearance decisively confronts the viewers with new ideas on how to perceive and decipher paintings. By partially quoting other artworks recalling our collective memory, Lejman utilizes a common method in visual arts to play with normative viewing habits, only to push them and us into an entirely new direction.

Dominik Lejman was born in 1969 in Gdańsk, Poland. He lives and works in Poznań and Berlin. As one of the most established multimedia concept artists, Lejman has been exhibiting in numerous international shows, including After the Wall, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1999) /Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2000), 1st Prague Biennale (2003), Polish Pavilion at the 9th Biennale di Venezia of Architecture (2004), Still / Motion, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2008), Sanguine/Bloedrood, Prada Foundation, Milano (2018) and Macht! Licht!, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2022). In 2018, he received the prestigious prize of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin for redefining the medium of painting.


Persons Projects Lindenstraße 34-35 10969 Berlin

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