To start the new year off on a colorful (and gentle!) note, we are pleased to announce Bayeux, Stephan Goldrajch’s first solo exhibition in our Parisian space. This exhibition will open a door to a carnivalesque universe inhabited by mythical characters, as if surprised at the turn of a page of a book or a comic strip, and in-depth historical references. Spread over the gallery’s two floors, it will feature a monumental embroidery, watercolours, and a series of recent crochet works.
Naive and childish, not to say “brut”, Stephan Goldrajch’s crocheted works create a mass of colourful shapes that mix and mingle, like bodies at a party or a festive parade. Everything seems animated: the sun, stars, a she-centaur, and even a jug. Everything has a face: the features are illuminated by wide and red smiles. Inspired by the Bayeux tapestry that tells the story of the William the Conqueror’s conquest of England in a medieval style, a mixture of reality and fantasy, Stephan Goldrajch’s paintings rewrite history to change its focus. They highlight what had been relegated to the margins and give a central place to the small details on the edges of the tapestry (animals, sometimes human beings). By reincarnating them in crocheted silhouettes, the paintings interpret the story of the past and give it an inclusive twist.
The large embroidery presented upstairs is part of this same desire for inclusion. It is a participatory work that was created collaboratively. It testifies to the social character of Stephan Goldrajch’s work, who often begins a piece in a public place and is gradually joined by passers-by, curious about his activity. Here, the work represents the embroiderers. It thereby introduces what is usually out of frame into the representation and creates “an metatheatre of the simplicity of life,” in the artist’s own words.
Stephan Goldrajch was born in 1985 in Ramat Gan, Israel; he lives and works in Belgium. In his practice, he combines various techniques: textiles, texts, drawings, installations, found materials. He multiplies colours and forms and is inspired by folk tales, myths, and the ancestral magical imagination, from Voodoo to the Kabbalah. For him, art is like a rite that descends on all aspects of existence and intertwines with each person’s life.
In his work, Stephan Goldrajch seeks to find the best way to “combine art and social cohesion”: encounters and interaction are at the heart of his practice. Often, he starts from “deficiencies and shortcomings, to rewrite a story, to refound it and create something else.” His way of doing things is nomadic and he is not attached to a fixed studio. This allows him to reinforce the participatory aspect of his practice: it is not uncommon for him to rub shoulders with strangers to art, whom he encounters in the course of his work. He seeks to compare their existences and practices with his own in order to generate a new dimension in his work and enrich his own techniques, feeding them both with ancestral traditions and with his encounters.
Stephan Goldrajch’s œuvre was shown in numerous institutional exhibitions (selection) : International Carnival and Mask Museum (Binche), Museum of contemporary art (Athens), Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion sociale (Brussels), CENTRALE for contemporary art (Brussels), Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles (Paris), Le Brass – Centre culturel de Forest (Brussels), Centre international de Formation en Arts du Spectacle CIFAS (Brussels), Jewish Museum of Belgium (Brussels), Iselp contemporary art center (Brussels), Museum of Ixelles (Brussels), MusAfrica – Musée Africain de Namur (Namur), Maison des Arts (Saint-Herblain), Haïfa Museum of Art (Haïfa).
He was on residency in Sanxingdui (China), in Armenia and in Bulgaria in 2019 and in the School of African Heritage (Benin) in 2018.
In 2019, he did a series of performances in Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris (Performances des Juges). His book Poème d’Arménie (in collaboration with Myriam Rispens) was published in 2020. He is also author of Masques (2021), Les 8 récits fondateurs (2018) and Le Bouc Emissaire selon Stephan Goldrajch (2018).
Stephan Goldrajch is currenly working on a performance that will take place in Wallonie-Bruxelles centre in Paris on February 12.