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Y.Z. Kami

Paintings

April 9–May 30, 2015
Britannia Street, London

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Y.Z. Kami, photo by Mike Bruce

Works Exhibited

Y. Z. Kami, Daya's Hands, 2014 Oil on linen, 90 × 54 inches (228.6 × 137.2 cm)Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Daya's Hands, 2014

Oil on linen, 90 × 54 inches (228.6 × 137.2 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Paul, 2014 Oil on linen, 90 × 54 inches (228.6 × 137.2 cm)Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Paul, 2014

Oil on linen, 90 × 54 inches (228.6 × 137.2 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Ava, 2013–14 Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Ava, 2013–14

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Marwin, 2013–14 Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Marwin, 2013–14

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Man with Violet Eyes, 2013–14 Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)Photo by Rob McKeever

Y. Z. Kami, Man with Violet Eyes, 2013–14

Oil on linen, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
Photo by Rob McKeever

About

When you go through the process of looking at a face and you meditate on it with pigments and brushes in hand, it is like living with the face. In a way, it becomes part of you.
—Y.Z. Kami

Gagosian London is pleased to present recent paintings by Y.Z. Kami.

Kami’s portraits of introspective subjects project a broad and inviting presence. Using his own photographs of family, friends, and strangers as source material, he depicts faces as vessels to convey an almost sacred and universal atmosphere of reflection, often with eyes closed as though in meditation. The matte surface of his paintings resembles fresco, while the closely cropped, centered compositions evoke El Fayûm portraits of ancient Egypt. Beginning with a primary paint layer in warm terra cotta, subjects are rendered in a uniform sfumato that evokes a light tremor, imparting to the paintings the effect of movement. This sense of vitality may stem from the viewer's own associations with photographed figures in motion, but it transcends even the veracity of photographs. Kami does not aim to create photorealistic portrayals; rather, he seeks to evoke the presence of spirit.

In recent large-scale portraits, Kami emphasizes the process behind the paintings, taking mysterious liberties in his representation of individual features, as in the arresting Man with Violet Eyes (2013–14). In Daya (2014), a male subject in profile, he recreates a vivid memory of their first encounter. A thin strip of the earthy primary paint layer is visible at the bottom edge of the canvas, a glimpse behind the otherwise even surface of indeterminate skin textures and hair tones.

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