Exhibition at the Frederick Kiesler Foundation
Opening: January 9, 2019
Exhibition duration: January 10 to March 1, 2019
Curated by Peter Bogner
Emmanuel Bornstein has created a special series of works for the Frederick Kiesler Foundation that make free reference to the diverse life of Frederick and Stefi Kiesler. The Kieslers established an active network of writers, painters, sculptors, singers, musicians, performers and theatre folk at the various stations of their life: Chernivtsi, Vienna, Berlin, Paris and, finally, New York. To name these figures it is necessary to span a path from turn-of-the-century Vienna, twenties’ Berlin, Paris—the onetime centre of modern art—to New York, to where the European avant-garde began to flee in the 1930s and pave the way for modern (American) art in the post-war period.
There are various biographical parallels between Kiesler and Bornstein that are reflected by way of association in Bornstein’s work. Having trained in Paris, Bornstein moved to Berlin, the new and vibrant centre of art discourse at the beginning of the 21st century, and in 2018 he reflected on his European experiences during an extended study stay in the still throbbing New York art scene.
With the aid of his untitled portraits of renowned figures of the 20th century, the artist describes a torn, now angry, now propitiatory presence of the past and the very different figures, dispositions and characters, some of whom we also encounter in Frederick Kiesler’s network. The motifs oscillate between figuration and abstraction, but always bespeak the painter’s intense, highly emotional exploration of the canvas—and as a result, in and of themselves, give rise to great emotionalism and immediacy with regard to the people depicted.