Ruven Kuperman | Не Буди
Curator: Leah Abir
Ruven Kuperman's solo exhibition is composed of paintings on paper and wood, which are based on various visual references. They are gathered together to form an over-whole vision, both violent and complex. The starting points for these paintings range from Danzig Baldaev's visual-anthropological research ("Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia", 2003) to anatomical renderings of internal body parts, terrifying iconic portraits, and Japanese prints such as historical
Ukiyo-e prints and ones identified with Manga culture.
This diverse imagery inhabits the basic layers of Kuperman's paintings, providing them not only with compositions and scenographies, but also with ideas and meanings from non-Western worlds. Bringing together seemingly different paintings, this exhibition juxtaposes various cultural signifiers embedded directly on the human body. These imprinted signifiers turn out to be palmistrical lines of fate – codes that denote and position an individual's body within different social systems and hierarchies.
Kuperman's paintings displayed in this exhibition produce an inward and outward motion between body and mind. The tattoos scorched on a person's body in one painting become the main subject matter of another painting, and go as far as invading the actual gallery wall. Kuperman's painting is a product of an unrealistically piercing gaze onto a body that is both a skin (tattooed, scarred, smooth, wrinkled) and a sizzling arena of blood vessels and muscle. In this sense, these paintings depict life, consciousness, movement, and pain. Не Буди, read one of the painted man's eyelashes: an untranslatable expression, roughly meaning "Don't wake (me) up."