MILD PAIN GUARANTEED
About the Exhibition
Ukrainian-born Israeli artist Marik Lechner presents his first exhibition in the US, ‘Mild Pain Guaranteed’, showing a new series of fantastical, large-scale, brilliantly colored tapestries, drawings, and embroideries made in the past five years – a dramatic development from the expressive paintings for which he is best known.
Lechner’s work presents a topsy-turvy world of war and bestiality, reflecting Lechner’s conviction that ‘we are basically animals. We have one hand in the sublime and one hand in the garbage.’ Taking his inspiration from an eclectic range of sources – including myth, religion, nature, and popular culture – the textile works feature a recurrent cast of characters and symbols. Partpainting, part-sculpture, they make inventive use of thread and wool alongside collage, spray paint, glue, and found objects. Barely containing their fierce energy, they are at once mystical and mundane, baroque and reduced, sophisticated and utterly wild.
The exhibition’s title, 'Mild Pain Guaranteed,' derives from Lechner's experience while riding the bus, "We passed a cosmetics store. It was advertising all the usual things – hair removal, eyebrow shaping, manicures – that women have to suffer to be seen beautiful, as objects of seduction. A large neon sign outside the shop promised ‘Mild Pain Guaranteed.’ It was funny because they were trying to reassure women that the pain would be only mild, but it came out as an assurance of mild pain. This is life for you: at the very least, there will be mild pain”.
"Lechner’s textile works exist within a contemporary art world that has recently begun to focus more attentively on craft… [on] issues of gender and empowerment, identity and diversity, social engagement and the environment. Lechner’s interests, however, fall outside most of these areas of engagement. Instead, his tapestries come squarely out of the painting tradition, and his own, ongoing, painterly concerns with color, expressiveness, texture, and the possibilities of three-dimensionality on the two-dimensional surface. They emerge in their sensuousness from the world of Soutine, van Gogh, Auerbach, and de Kooning, with a similar desire to make paint (or, in this case, wool) flesh, to create not an illusion of an image but something more meatily materialistic: the stuff of life itself." (Jacky Klein, exhibition text)
About Marik Lechner
Marik Lechner was born in 1967 in Chernovitz, Ukraine and emigrated to Israel with his family in 1973.Lechner graduated from HaMidrasha School of Arts in 2001. He has had solo shows at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Givon Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, and Feinkunst Krüger Gallery, Hamburg, Germany, among others and has participated in group exhibitions in Germany, Latvia, and Israel. Lechner has won several awards, among them Israel's National Lottery Prize for Culture and Art, and the Lauren & Mitchell Presser Contemporary Art Grant. He lives and works between Be'er Ya'akov and Tel Aviv, Israel.