Contemporary Art Gallery Madrid

MARYAN (1927-1977)

American Period: Paintings and Works on paper.

March 13 – April 30, 2008

Opening: March 13, 2008, at 8pm. 

Since his Madrid exhibition in 1964, at the gallery Juana Mordó, Maryan has been considered somehow an outsider artist. With the renewed interest in painting, his oeuvre has gained an increased interest and, in some ways, is seen as a precursor of contemporary practices.

Maryan (Pinchas Burstein) was born in 1927 in Poland. 
Born Jewish, his life was marked by his arrest (at the age of 12) and stays in various concentration camps as well as the loss of his family in similar circumstances. 
After being released from the camps, Maryan first moved to Israel, then to Paris where he studied art and in 1962 finally moved to New York. 
The works in the present exhibition belong to what is often mentioned as Maryan American Period. 

In his paintings, the various figures depicted, called "Personage" express an "angst", a suffering loneliness with gesticulating bodies shown in theatrical poses. The expression of this sensibility seems to forerun various aspects in current paintings. Often the faces show a grin or a scream, in an expressiveness lingering on the tragic of human existence.
However, in the midst of this depiction of human chaos, a comical and tender side also lay apparent under the black humor, an Eastern sense of humor or "survivors", close to Kafka´s “ The Trial”which Maryan illustrated in 1953.

The 15 paintings and works on paper (never before exhibited in Europe) are of figures often trapped in a box or seated on a table, a human menagerie, visually halfway between formal elegance and technical mastery. These are works on the brink of madness (a condition the artist had to, at times, to live with towards the end of his life). 
The painting´s colors are bold, often electric, deliberately without nuance. Maryan, a gifted draftsman, developed in the paintings of that period a strong concern for heavy lines and bright graphic expression.

His "Truth Paintings" as he called them, are absolutely autobiographical. He said: "I will be myself in any color I put on the canvas. " 
Maryan built a deliberate grotesque language perhaps in order to relieve himself. 
He died at the age of 50 and was found alone in his room at the Chelsea Hotel, in which he had lived for some time. His body is buried in the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris. 

Considered as an "artist of artists," Eduardo Arroyo in his next book focuses on art, dedicates three pages to this artist.