Born in Petersburg in 1924 and raised in Riga, NO!art co-founder Boris Lurie occupies a special place among artists who survived the German concentration and extermination camps. His paintings, collages, and objects, some of which are provocative, are attracting increasingly widespread international interest. Not only do they keep the Nazi atrocities in mind, but they also address their mass-cultural, voyeuristic reception and exploitation.
Lurie never saw himself as a pitying "victim artist," but rather as part of a particular, socially critical New York underground that was at the same time cosmopolitically networked. Wolf Vostell or Günther Brus have, each in their own way, been among his European friends and comrades-in-arms. Boris Lurie has consistently refused the art market, and he has rarely allowed exhibitions of his works. Thus he has become an artist for artists and is currently being mythicized as much as rediscovered as an "insider tip" and radical antidote to the sentimental, superficial, moralizing forms of memory culture.
Born between Hitler and Stalin, the extreme experiences of the 20th century break through unvarnished in his works. This applies not least to his linguistic works. - Boris Lurie's life and life's work form a radical, rugged and at the same time poetic synthesis of the arts. In New York, Lurie inhabits his collages, as it were, and as if through a flimsy fabric, the camp experience shines through everything that surrounds him in terms of civilization. After a retrospective of his work at the art museum of the Buchenwald Memorial in 1998/99, he allowed the Israeli artist Naomi Tereza Salmon, who lives in Germany, to document his life and life's work comprehensively in artistic terms for the first time. The exhibition therefore stands both for an unusual sign of trust as well as for mutual artistic appreciation and a rare form of subtle collaboration.
The multimedia exhibition of photographs, video, sound installations, poetry projections, and computer-based image sequences will be shown on the recently restored 750-square-foot third floor of the former effects chamber of Buchenwald Concentration Camp. It is based on two preparatory New York residencies by Naomi Tereza Salmon and the web of conversations between her and Lurie that resulted from their encounter.
The exhibition will also feature the artist's book Boris Lurie, Geschriebigtes Gedichtigtes, edited by Volkhard Knigge, Eckhart Holzboog, and Dietmar Kirves, published in 2003 by Eckhart Holzboog Verlag. It comprises 446 pages and contains numerous illustrations.