Matts Leiderstam is a visual artist working with painting, installation and photography, who seeks out stories connected to the very act of painting. One could even argue that his practice can be summarized in a short question: What does a painting do?
Most of Leiderstam’s research-based work has since the mid-1990s been“made after” older practices, as in an on-going conversation with art history and its materials, an investigation of sorts that has led him into museum storage facilities and archives. He has a keen interest in the circulation of artworks through commissions, acquisitions, theft and confiscation and what these things tell us. His work also deals with how ways of seeing change over time and he seeks out alternative – queer – stories connected to the act of seeing or looking at painting. For Leiderstam it is the very moment of encountering a painting that guides all the permutations his work might take within an exhibition space.
Seen Through the Grid is an exhibition specifically produced for the gallery’s space in Paris. A large shelf-structure, designed by the artist, serves as the main vehicle for the presentation of his two most recent bodies of work, Panels and Archived. The works are installed as resting objects, simultaneously in storage and on display.
Panels (2017-), is an ongoing series of abstract paintings made on poplar panels, all dealing with a grid structure as used by artists throughout art history when composing a motif. In these paintings Leiderstam is exploring the idea and practice of the grid and its influence on abstract painting, as well as its presence in our contemporary culture dominated by screens in a time of data computing on a planetary scale.
Panels is presented together with Archived (2020-), a new series of unique inkjet prints and drawings made on A4 archive-proofed paper, mounted in a file-cover and framed together. For this body of work the artist uses his personal digital archive, either his own images or ones downloaded from the internet. Here too, images from the history of art are an important component, albeit compiled in a personal and very associative manner. Images and drawings juxtaposed, where the grid often reappears, together create alternative meanings. Seen through the Grid deals with art history as construction as well as the intricate play of gazes – both of which are constant subjects of the artist’s œuvre. He comments on or redirects the gaze, queersit – and offers the viewers an occasion to sharpen their vision.
Matts Leiderstam, born 1956, lives and works in Stockholm and Malmö. Selected solo presentations from the last decade include: Andrehn Schiptjenko, Stockholm (2018), Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam (2017), Collectors Space, Istanbul (2016) Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (2010). Selected group shows: Art Encounters Biennal 2019, Timisoara (2019), The 11th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, Generosity. The Art of Giving, The National Gallery, Prague (2016), Recto Verso, Fondazione Prada, Milan, In Search of Matisse, Heine Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2015), 8th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Ciclorama, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2013).