Life With the Dead

Boris Lurie

Curated by Center for Persecuted Arts Solingen / Boris Lurie Art Foundation New York
20 avril – 24 novembre 2024
– vernissage 17 avril 2024

With the exhibition LIFE WITH THE DEAD, we commemorate Boris Lurie’s 100th birthday with a view to introducing a wider public to the significant work of this artist. The exhibition is located at monumental Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista in Venice, with the Spazio Badoer adjoining the church of San Giovanni, and it is a perfect venue for this show. The space had once been used as a burial site, with the word Coemeterium (place of interment) written above the door. It is a site of eternity and resurrection.

Boris Lurie was born in Leningrad in 1924 and raised in Riga. On December 8, 1941, he lost his mother, grandmother, sister, and his first love, to a mass shooting by the Nazis in the Rumbula forest near Riga. These dead people accompanied him throughout every moment of his life. Boris Lurie survived the terror of the concentration camps, and bore witness to the horrors of the Holocaust in many respects. Co-founder of the NO!art movement, he created diverse, provocative, and occasionally extreme collages, drawings, sculptures, and texts. His works are not just expressions of suffering, however. They are symbols of hope, by one of the few survivors since 1945, of achieving wholeness. “There is no greater pain than to feel as a stranger among people,” wrote Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Notes from the Underground, and it is this pain that Boris Lurie screams out, as a universal human experience in all of his works. On display in the Spazio Badoer of the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista, are more than fifty works ranging from the years 1950 to 1970. These include his most significant collages, the “Immigrant’s NO!box” and the “Shit Sculptures” to name only a few.

The Center for Persecuted Arts in Solingen is a museum of discovery, dedicated exclusively to artists whose works and opportunities for development were blocked, prevented, or destroyed by the dictatorships of the last century and by totalitarian regimes up to the present day. It is an interdisciplinary museum, and its collection of visual art and literature tells of lost and neglected works of art, stories, and fates.

The Boris Lurie Art Foundation in New York is dedicated to reflect the life, work and aspirations of Boris Lurie and to preserve and promote the NO!art movement with its focus on the social visionary in art and culture. The Foundation maintains the artist’s massive body of work, poetry, personal writings and archives, as well as the works of other NO!art artists which are under its control, making them available to the public and institutions of learning  throughout the world. In the spirit of Mr. Lurie’s bequest, the foundation supports a variety of initiatives, including exhibitions, publications, films, acquisition, and internships. Through this range of activity the Boris Lurie Foundation believes it will make a material contribution to the artistic, social and educational life of the community.

April 20–November 24, 2024
Venue: Scuola Grande San Giovanni Venice
Opening: April 17, 2024
Preview: 17-19 April, 2024
as part of the Venice Biennale preview

Center for Persecuted Arts Solingen
Boris Lurie Art Foundation New York

image credit: BORIS LURIE, poster, 2024, collage by Timon Wissfeld © Boris Lurie Art Foundation, New York