Vogt Gallery is pleased to present the first New York solo show of Chilean artist Cristóbal Lehyt. Bringing together three recent related bodies of work exploring identity, figuration, and dramatic narrative, the exhibition will showcase drawings, photographs, and paintings, each taking Lehyt’s vision into a new direction.
The Drama Projections are single images made up of 32 joined inkjet prints depicting human figures. These works originate from graphite and ink drawings of city dwellers created in an altered state induced not with the aid of substances, but through quick visual responses and repetition. They then undergo heavy filtering in a process involving photography, Photoshop, and then magnification.
Lehyt continues to use digital processing to alter his images in the Seven Days, Seven Anarchists series, scanning and reworking the color and scale of the small original oil crayon drawings. Naked and alone, and often floating in darkness, these figures are based on literary characters who become stuck in illusive, inscrutable narratives. While the Drama Projections transform ordinary people who Lehyt observed in public places into large, fantastical dramatic personae, Seven Days, Seven Anarchists strips down characters from novels and exposes their innate vulnerability.
Lehyt’s most recent series, while still figurative, is a conceptual departure from previous bodies of work. Ethereal figures from the artist’s imagination seep into unprimed Belgian linen, in enigmatic, dramatic vignettes. A slender couple stands in a flame-colored cloud, a boy’s hand is caught in the mouth of a large, disembodied head, and it is unclear whether one figure reaches out to caress or choke his partner. We come upon these paintings as if upon the ghosts of those drowned long ago, who attempt to tell us their stories with symbols that we have yet to understand. Questions of identity are stretched further both for the artist and his subjects. Reflecting his Chilean background as opposed to the European tradition Lehyt states: “To locate oil paint on and into Belgian linen is to try to be somebody else as well.”
Cristóbal Lehyt (born Chile, 1973) lives and works in New York. His work has been shown internationally, e.g. at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Shanghai Biennale, The Mercosul Biennial, the Queens Museum and The Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. The Drama Projection series has already been the subject of comprehensive surveys in Santiago de Chile and Stuttgart, Germany.