Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Zahnradstrasse 21, CH-8005 Zurich
tel. +41 44 278 10 10
May 29 - July 24, 2010
Galerie Peter Kilchmann is pleased to present the second solo exhibition by American artist Raffi
Kalenderian. Alongside paintings on canvas and paperworks, the exhibition “Memoranda” for the first time
features paintings on wood.
For the most part, Raffi Kalenderian depicts young people from his immediate environment. They often lie
on a sofa or sit on a chair within a familiar surroundings. Some figures stand in gardens. Only in some of
the works, is the person not painted as whole body. The drawing Untitled (Resting), for example, shows
the face of a young man with his hands folded and eyes closed (see invitation). Next to the face, a second
face can be made out, sketched with just a few lines. This second face seems to be on a different level
and appears to be a soul become visible, as if it were proof of a different state of perception. Its eyes are
In Kalenderian´s works everything plays on the foreground. There are no horizons and no perspective. The
artist reveals his world directly to us, showing us his friends, as if he had no secrets. His friends often
seem melancholic while their environment is very colourful. Colourful details of clothes, materials or
furniture seem to be striving to attract the spectatorʼs attention and distract from the figures. We often
encounter the figure Shanti. Shanti is the artist´s brother. He is painted as a young man, sometimes almost
androgynous, sometimes like a tough guy. It remains uncertain whether Kalenderian wants to reveal
something to us about Shanti, Frankie or Elizabeth with his paintings. None of the figures look directly at
us, but all of them seem to be in contact with us. We are the witnesses of their existence.
In Kate Wolf (Pink Green) a young woman is lying on a purple sofa. Her face is pale, her eyes are black
and her head is resting on her arms. She is lying on her stomach with her legs dangling in the air. The
painting is more than just a snapshot. It seems designed to freeze an eternal and timeless situation. It
seems that Kalenderian idealises the features of the real Kate Wolf and endows the painting with
autonomy. Doing this, he takes liberties which we perceive as formal pleasures. For example, when
highlighting the green stripes on Kate Wolf´s pink skirt or when illustrating the sofa cushions that mould
with the lines of the body or when stressing the wrinkles of her white T-shirt. Raffi Kalenderian encourages
the spectator to get lost in those details and to become immersed into his own cosmos.
"Memoranda", the title of the exhibition, can be likening portraiture to notes and memos kept for history,
but not too specific to take away from someone's own unique experience. In fact Kalenderianʼs works are,
as the artists himself states, a proof or better an evidence of existence.
Raffi Kalenderian (1981, born and living in Los Angeles) graduated in 2004 with a BFA from the University
of California in Los Angeles. Within the scope of his exhibition, a catalogue will be published at Nieves
Books, Zurich, with a text by Doug Harvey.