Yuri Kuper


His art extolls the shapes of « unopened » things, « it comes from the eye and seaks to the eye », according to Rilke’s beautiful words as regards Rodin. The pictorial space created by Yuri Kuper is original in that the empty spaces are more important than the filled ones, absence is more significant than presence… The world he offers, or rather suggests, never provides a visible resistance, or so little : its architecture is real.

The work reassures us by its tangible presences, delectable, barely masked (make up) when
beyond everything an infinite absence threatens us ; one can deeply feel a passion for
sensitivity coupled with a desire for rigour ; a patient and untiring quest which is based on the
near and the familiar and which, slowly, surely, rises well beyond it. Yuri Kuper tracks down, obstinately and with talent a hidden secret between us and objects, between the joys of seeing, the meanderings of imagination and those of memory.
Kuper has chosen to live at appearances’ breaking point ; he is forever ready to seize reality
by its hair, just when the object is taking off, settling down or escaping ; he hands the world a
mirror, his mirror, the real and the unreal side.
Which form should be chosen ? Which echo should be capture ? Which shadow should be protected ? Which appearance should be caught fast ? This « artisan » who is totally enamored of things, of their skin and of their flesh, submits the eye’s greed to ascetism ; such a form contains an apple, such a fold conceals a paintbrush of the paintbrush’s skeleton, another contains the beginning of an easel. Kuper’s world is both a secret and initiatory ; he remains within the realm of transmutation not in length of time or in real space, but within the fictitious and magical one of the canvas or the object.
Progressively as this art develops during the years which captures dark sources to turn them into subtle and luminous emergences, we see space decomposing itself, the palette becoming lightertoned, and the breadth and flesh of things opening up… Yuri Kuper does not talk alone, he does not talk to the objects either, does not answer it, he attacks it so that the object will answer him. He beckons us to an awakening, he is master for seeing better ; according to oriental wisdom «everything about us is sleep, reality which only reveals itself when it is lit up by a poetic light ray »… It is with light ray that he enlivens our vision. Always, according to the orientals, man becomes Tathâgata : one of those who has the privilege, hardly won, to have perceived the world in its final reality or unreality, within its absoluteness. Yuri Kuper «the awakened» is the other name given to Buddha. Alchemist with slow gestures, he is forever tracking down the hidden «truth» which beckons him, only perceived by us throught his agency. Kuper or the conquest of the interior moment.
Michel Bohbot

Exposition de son oeuvre au Salon Graphique de Moscou, 1970

Centre Culturel, Jérusalem – Andromeda Gallery, Tel Aviv, 1972

Gattles Gallery, Cambridge (Angleterre), 1973

Galerie Lietzow, Berlin, 1974

FIAC, Galerie Hervé Odermatt, Grand Palais, Paris, 1978

Galerie Lefevre, New York, 1980

Galleri Haaken, Oslo, 1981

“Yuri Kuper Homage to Table”, Galleri Haaken, Oslo, 1982

Galerie Jan Krugier, Genève, 1983

Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, 1983

Claude Bernard Gallery, New York, 1985

Hôtel de Ville, Paris, 1986

“Yuri Kuper Peintures, Aquarelles, Estampes”, Gallery Haaken, Oslo, 1986

“Yuri Kuper Peintures, Dessins, Sculptures”, International Contemporary Art Fair, Los Angeles, 1986

Claude Bernard Gallery, New York, 1986

Galerie Epsilon, Bruxelles, 1987

Galerie Wetterling, Stockholm, 1987

Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, 1988

Galerie Rambert, Paris, 1988

“Recent Work”, Claude Bernard Gallery, New York, 1989

“Doodlings” – Installation, Galerie Rambert, 1990

Galerie Yoshi, Tokyo, Japon, 1990


Musées et collections

Musée Pouchkine, Moscou

Galerie Tretjakof, Moscou

Uéno Royal Museum, Tokyo

Shirakaba Museum, Japon

Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulterbesitz, Berlin

Ministère de la Culture, Paris

Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris

National Gallery, Oslo

Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Sainsbury Collection, University of Norwich

École d’Art, Boston 
University of Chicago, Northern Illinois

National Library of Congress, Washington

Metropolitan Museum, New York

Musée Mueno, Tokyo, Japon