Yuri Leiderman | Berlin 2013



March 2, 2013 – April 20, 2013

In the spring 2013 Galerija Gregor Podnar hosted Yuri Leidermanʼs third solo exhibition. Often drawing inspiration from national identities themes, Leiderman’s works seek to transform those issues into abstractions, thereby testing their elasticity while foregrounding their unexplainable character, and thus restoring to them somemeasure of irreducible, if not ironic dignity.

This was carried out in the exhibition through a series of new drawings, paintings and a recent film. Consisting primarily of portraits, the largely graphic and expressive paintings in this exhibition blend figuration with a kind of oneiric abstraction, formally and thematically operating according to the principles of ‘Geopoetics’ (Y.L). This is perhaps best exemplified by an unusual portrait of Saddam Hussein entitled Saddam Hussein on the Wind (2013). Here Leiderman has taken a well-circulated image of the shocked and disillusioned late dictator and transformed it, in such a way that he becomes disembodied and phantasmal, and undergoes an ambiguous pictorial redemption.

The film Birmingham Ornament (from 2007), made in collaboration with film-maker Andrey Silvestrov, comprises a series of fragments, which weave together documentary fact with fantastical fiction whose nature become more and more outrageous as the film progresses. Alternating between different passages with charismatic folk singer from Odessa or Finish choir singing Leiderman’s poetry, the side-splittingly funny film merits multiple viewings.

Along with the rest of the works in this show, it offered a crucial opportunity to grasp and appreciate the simultaneously deflating and redemptive logic of Leidermanʼs singular oeuvres.