Michiel Ceulers: LAURA (Ein bisschen Schnitzel in Magen war mir lieber als ein Vogel in den Himmel)

Los Angeles

June 13 – July 18, 2015


Nicodim Gallery LA is pleased to present new work by Michiel Ceulers. Between the carnage of the studio and the speckless white of the gallery, the artist’s paintings exist as records of his tussle with the history of the medium. Failure, chance, and accident are folded into the formal forays, as are remnants of past works. The picture plane wears its scars with pride.

LAURA is a name of course. Otto Preminger’s elusive beauty and David Lynch’s mysterious victim, but LAURA is just a cipher for the plasticity of both language and art. A serpent continually renewed by the shedding of her skin, who can’t help but record her trail in discarded scraps of self. The evidence left behind by all Lauras is too tempting, too easy to fall in love with.

Soon the warm tungsten streetlights of Los Angeles will be supplanted by icy blue LEDs. A city shedding its skin. Under the swan song of this aureate haze Ceulers’ paintings made in LA take on the mantle of flesh and metal, moving from layers of canvas to creamy latex and slick aluminum. Plucking titles of summer blockbusters, pop ditties, and folk wisdoms from the psychic miasma of a peripatetic life, Michiel bricolages cheeky narratives that undermine the nature of abstraction. The subtitle, an old German saying that translates roughly to a bit of schnitzel in the stomach is dearer to me than a bird in the sky, begs the question of material. What pleasure is the clunk of academese when there is the ooey gooey paint itself? The slither of lips around a mouth?

April 30, 2015 2:48 am:

I hate being asked about the death of painting, because I see painting as a language. And language adapts. Besides, how many times has literature itself been declared dead?

So LAURA is the Phoenix of portrayal... the Phoenix is dying, and so is the orange glow over Los Angeles (do you know they're switching the streetlights from tungsten to LED? Do you know those storefronts in the fashion district, all ranked with bolts of fabric like little Dada people roaming the streets? At night they disappear and it feels like scene Blade Runner. BTW how is it that a McDonald's in a major metropolitan city closes at 6pm?)

LAURA’s a B.I.T.C.H.*, because life’s a bitch (in French, ‘serpent’ is another name for bitch)

She’ll be back.

Talk soon,


*(Beauty In Total Control of Herself)

Sent from my iPhone 

Michiel Ceulers, Nicodim Gallery LA, Los Angeles