Menu

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.

Read more

Y.Z. Kami

In Conversation
Y.Z. Kami

During preparations for an exhibition in London, Y.Z. Kami met with Gagosian’s Alison McDonald to discuss the evolution of his work, technique, and his combination of influences.

A painting in dark blue and white. The image depicts a group of men in white linen encircling a platform on which a couple of them are standing. The standing figures are cut off from the waist up as the top half of the painting dissolves into solid midnight blue.

Y.Z. Kami: Dematerialized

In celebration of the release of the monograph Y.Z. Kami: Works 1985–2018, and in advance of an exhibition of new works by the artist at Gagosian, Rome, Ziba Ardalan and Elena Geuna sat down to discuss Y.Z. Kami’s work. The conversation was moderated by Gagosian’s Kay Pallister.

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Notre-Dame), 2019.

For Notre-Dame

An exhibition at Gagosian, Paris, is raising funds to aid in the reconstruction of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris following the devastating fire of April 2019. Gagosian directors Serena Cattaneo Adorno and Jean-Olivier Després spoke to Jennifer Knox White about the generous response of artists and others, and what the restoration of this iconic structure means across the world.

Y.Z. Kami, Gold Dome, 2017, gold leaf on linen, 63 × 70 inches (160 × 177.8 cm). Mr. and Mrs. David Su Collection.

Y.Z. Kami: Luminosities

Elena Geuna interviews the artist on the subjects of his childhood, his approach to portraiture, and the centrality of light in his practice.

Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

The Summer 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Afrylic by Ellen Gallagher on its cover.

Y.Z. Kami: Behind the Vanishing Point

Y.Z. Kami: Behind the Vanishing Point

Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth-century mathematician and philosopher, served as a crucial inspiration for Y.Z. Kami’s newest body of work. Angela Brown examines Pascal’s ideas and their relevance to these portraits and Dome paintings.

News

Paintings by Y.Z. Kami at Gagosian

Video

Paintings by Y.Z. Kami at Gagosian

Educator and artist Grace Adam and writer and lecturer Joshua White, both from The Art Channel, were granted access to Gagosian’s 2015 Paintings exhibition of recent works by Y.Z. Kami at Britannia Street, London. The pair speak in great depth about each of the works presented.