May 18th – June 16, 2013
Regina Rex presented the first solo exhibition of new and previously viewed artworks by Mathieu Lefevre, since his untimely death in 2011. Lefevre’s work has tirelessly engaged in the idea and materiality of ‘bad’ art, often pairing the underpinnings of language art and tautological revelations, with slap-stick execution. Taking the tropes and trends of contemporary art, such as poetic failures and clever ready-mades, Lefevre locates their ultimate end-game within a visual ‘punch-line’. However this is not to say that the work simply performs a visual one-line joke. Works such as “Monument to Indecision” express a genuine artistic dilemma of where to begin within a context of production that professes to embrace anything and whatever. Within this dilemma Lefevre focuses on a complex commitment to the materiality of art—how to make artwork which self-reflexively performs precisely the operation which it claims, without relying on anything exterior to the work.
The comedy of Mathieu Lefevre’s practice lies in his ability to move between text, sculpture and paint to create visual slippages in which the artworks embody the position of the viewer, they become objects which review their own relative success, desire and question their own material being. Lefevre has taken the trajectory of “bad art” and “bad painting” in a direction that moves away from the artist as the locus of disobedience and rebellion towards a type of practice in which the artworks themselves disobey their own imperative.
This text was written by Danna Vajda artist/writer and close friend of Mathieu Lefevre. She has shown her work alongside Lefevre's in Montréal, and held dear the dialogue they maintained over studio visits in Brooklyn. The exhibition Mathieu Lefevre: The Stuff Things Are Made Of, was organized with Mathieu's friend and colleague, Alhena Katsof, and was made possible with the indispensable support of Juliana Berger and Harley Smart.
Artforum, Critics’ Picks, Mathieu Lefevre, Corrine Fitzpatrick, June 2013
Gothamist.com, Mathieu Lefevre to have solo exhibit, Lauren Evans, May 2013
DNAinfo New York, First Posthumous Show, Meredith Hoffman, 05/15/13
Image: Flaming Paint Tube, oil paint and tube on board, 2010
Mathieu Lefevre was a multidisciplinary artist, whose work often encompassed sculpture, painting and photography. Playfully and critically using forms of twisted logic, simplification and exaggeration, Lefevre purposefully distorts and misinterprets language, signs, symbols and meaning relating to the microcosm of the artistic milieu, seeking to simultaneously disillusion the viewer and create new illusions in its place. Often relying on humor and derision as heuristic tools, he works with irony and cynicism to test the fragility and the flexibility of these mediums, seeking to rearrange and disrupt the relationships between viewer, creator, commodity and context.