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Michaël Borremans: Fire from the Sun (Spotlight)

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That the painting had had an unintended and instinctive meaning signalled that “I had made a good work”, Borremans said. The first in a series of small-format publications devoted to single bodies of work, Fire from the Sun highlights Michaël Borremans’s new work, which features toddlers engaged in playful but mysterious acts with sinister overtones and insinuations of violence. In his accompanying essay, critic and curator Michael Bracewell takes an in-depth look into specific paintings, tackling both the highly charged subject matter and the masterly command of the medium. In 2011, Michaël Borremans: Eating the Beard, a comprehensive solo show was presented at the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, and traveled to the Mu´´csarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest and the Kunsthalle Helsinki.

Each title in the Spotlight Series from David Zwirner Books features new work by a leading contemporary artist. Published on the occasion of Borremans’s eponymous exhibition at David Zwirner in Hong Kong, this publication is available in both English-only and bilingual English/traditional Chinese editions. From January 27 to March 10, Michaël Borremans, Belgian painter and filmmaker, will have his first solo show in Hong-Kong for the opening of the outpost of David Zwirner Gallery, Fire from the Sun.The opening of the Hong Kong space marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of David Zwirner gallery as it increases its international presence beyond New York and London. They are untethered, directionless, forever waiting in a non-place, forever forced to repeat pointless actions that seem to have no beginning or no end. He has since written extensively on modern and contemporary art and culture, and is a contributor to Burlington and frieze magazines. Michaël Borremans: Fire from the Sun [author]Katya Tylevich[/author] visits a brutal and profound exhibition by the Belgian artist Michaël Borremans, featuring a host of Sistine-style cherubs, sometimes covered in blood. I heard other interpretations while there, and so did the artist: that the paintings examine the loss of innocence, that they are a caricature of original sin, that they meditate on hypocrisy, that they demonstrate human capacity to be at once good and evil.

His recent publications include The Rise of David Bowie 1972–1973 (Taschen, 2016), Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work (National Gallery, 2010), and a short story, The Way Ahead (Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2018). There is an atmosphere of brewing tension and anxiety with an undertow of horror tugging away beneath the surface in his paintings: with his paintbrush Borremans brings to life a cargo of existentialism.Michaël Borremans: The Advantage, the artist’s first museum solo show in Japan, was also on view in 2014 at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Previous solo exhibitions at the gallery include Black Mould (London, 2015) The Devil’s Dress (New York, 2011), Taking Turns (New York, 2009), Horse Hunting (New York, 2006), and Trickland (New York, 2003).

While the fire and (probable) cannibalism imply some sort of ritual, the works are most chilling as sketches of random violence, causal and instinctual. The children are presented alone or in groups against a studio-like backdrop that negates time and space, while underlining the theatrical atmosphere and artifice that exists throughout Borremans’s recent work. While we make every effort to ensure that the information on the site is accurate complete and up-to-date we can make no guarantees and so will not be liable for any inconvenience loss or distress which may arise from using the information provided. Work by the artist is held in public collections internationally, including Art Institute of Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S. The exhibition traveled later in the year to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, followed by the Dallas Museum of Art in 2015.In some of the paintings the children are in the process of disappearing: phantom bodies not quite removed from their gruesome acts. On the occasion of his inaugural exhibition Michaël Borremans: Fire from the Sun at the new David Zwirner space in Hong Kong (27 January–9 March 2018), I spoke with Borremans about his practice and his participation in the Biennale of Sydney (BoS) (16 March–11 June 2018).

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