Doron Langberg: Night
Exhibition 26 January–28 March 2024
16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
Night is a hymn to nocturnal worlds both interior and exterior, and the spaces of ambiguity, opportunity and liberation – physical and psychological – that open up after dark.
Doron Langberg’s intimate yet expansive take on relationships, sexuality, nature, family and the self proposes how painting can both portray and create queer subjectivity, forging a relationship between interior and exterior realities and the ways in which they shape and are shaped by one another.
Titled after queer New York parties and club nights – such as Merge and Wrecked – the spaces in these new paintings are worlds in themselves, sites of multiple layers and levels of experience and connection. Together, the works create a narrative arc that follows the course of an evening, a night out becoming the morning after as we move from Basement to Sunrise.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new essay by New York-based writer and therapist hannah baer. Excerpts are featured below; read the full text here
‘Larger-than-your-body tableaux of dancing and reclining figures… hang within ethereal interiors or sweeping landscapes; frequently there are lovers, laying and/or wandering.’ — hannah baer
Doron 2 (Basement)
‘There is something about light. There’s not a lot of it, and it comes in from different directions. Sometimes light moves through bodies, dancing figures in the distance are overlaid on top of one another, as in Basement and Merge.’
Doron 3 (Merge)
‘Touch is what brings these figures into being, whether it’s touch between lovers of many years or complete strangers, old friends or eager acquaintances, gripping a lithe waist to thrust into him or gently taking his hand to help guide him on the path over the scrubby woods on the edge of a queer beach enclave.’
Doron 4 (Dark Room)
‘The scenes depicted are often quite dark, yet they’re full of colour, as in Dark Room (Underwear Party). There are multiple light sources, but the paintings sometimes confuse the eye with lit or unlit space, almost as though there are sources of obscuration, “dark sources” if you will, from which darkness or haziness radiates.’
Doron 5 (Wrecked)
‘These darkened hazy figures can feel scratched out, sketchy, at times painted over and at other times barely rendered, under- or over-painted suggesting low light but also leaky subjectivity, touchable bodies that are yet somehow ontologically ambient, fleeting or diminished.’
Doron 6 (Walking Back)
‘In The Walk Back (Underwear Party), strokes of darkness define details, licking like flames… Darkness here is not about fear exactly, it’s about permission, it’s about possibility…’
Doron 7 (Morning on the Beach)
‘The energy in these paintings reverberates out from the contact between bodies. In Morning on the Beach, the hand of a man lying on the beach falls lazily onto another’s body, two figures grip each other in a dancing embrace…’
‘The touching here is less the lonely touch of trying to escape individual subjectivity and more the smeared touch of individuality already flickering, the sense that the so-called “subjects” are sharing something larger and more whole than individual experience.’
On view at Victoria Miro Venice – Doron Langberg: Flowers
‘Painting them feels like painting a friend, and my motivation is the same – capturing a specificity that comes from familiarity and love.’ — Doron Langberg
The works on view in Venice were painted en plein air at different times of the year and include cultivated garden plants as well ostensibly wild or self-seeded varieties – such as ragwort, thistle and dandelion. Langberg paints these fleeting moments spontaneously in one session, alighting on patches of ground and recording them in bursts of activity. Flowers and foliage spring from the whiteness of the canvas in flurries of brushstrokes, preserved by the artist as if moments of revelation.
On view at Kunsthal Rotterdam – Doron Langberg: Part of Your World
The artist’s first solo institutional exhibition in Europe (1 Feb–26 May 2024) brings together sixteen new and recent paintings – from intimate portraits to monumental sweeping landscapes – which encompass universal subjects of love, desire and place.
‘The paintings in this exhibition show Langberg making room for the varied intimacies of life – familial, solitary, and sensual – with the insistence that they should all be contained within the same sensibility: as in life, so in paint.’ — Gaby Collins-Fernández
The exhibition is accompanied by a new essay by Gaby Collins-Fernández, an artist and writer living in New York. Read the full text
About the artist
Born in 1985 in Yokneam Moshava, Israel, Doron Langberg currently lives and works in New York City. He received his MFA from Yale University School of Art and holds a BFA from the University of Pennsylvania. Doron Langberg: Part of Your World, a major exhibition by the artist featuring new and recent paintings, is on view at Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1 February–26 May 2024. Work by the artist is on view as part of the collection display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, at the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK, and in the group show Friends & Lovers at FLAG Art Foundation, New York, USA (until 10 January 2024).
An exhibition featuring new and recent works by the artist was recently on view at Rubell Museum Miami (2022–2023). In 2022, Langberg’s work was also on view at the Institute of contemporary Art in Boston as part of the major group exhibition A Place for Me: Figurative Painting Now; at The Frick Collection, New York, as part of Living Histories: Queer Views and Old Masters, and at Institute of contemporary Art in Miami, in Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection, the first major exhibition to showcase the permanent collection. Further previous institutional group exhibitions include Beautiful, Vivid, Self-contained, Hill Art Foundation, New York, USA (2023); Any distance between us, RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island (2021–2022); Intimacy: New Queer Art from Berlin and Beyond at the Schwules Museum, Berlin, Germany (2021).
The artist’s work is in collections including Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, USA; Crystal Bridges, Bentonville, USA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA; Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston and Miami, USA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCO), Genève, Switzerland; National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, USA; Rennie Museum, Vancouver, Canada; RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Rubell Museum, Miami, USA.