Shay Kun- Be First, Be Smarter or Cheat

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The Bride, 2012 Oil On Canvas 58.5 Inches In Diameter © Courtesy the artist and Benrimon Contemporary
Shay Kun- Be First, Be Smarter or Cheat

514 West 24th St
New York, NY 10011
April 26th, 2012 - June 9th, 2012
Opening: April 26th, 2012 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Monday to Saturday 10 am - 6 pm and by appointment any other time
contemporary conceptual painting surrealism, modern


Shay Kun
Be First, Be Smarter or Cheat

Benrimon Contemporary

April 26, 2012 – June 9, 2012

For immediate release

“Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.”  – Francisco de Goya

Benrimon Contemporary is pleased to announce Be First, Be Smarter or Cheat, Shay Kun’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, which will feature an installation of eleven new paintings. 

Shay Kun’s paintings push viewers to challenge their philosophical and aesthetic limitations. While the paintings in this exhibition use appropriated images from the internet, glossy magazines and daily life, they question where fantasy begins and reality ends.  Our dreams and thoughts are capable of taking us on journeys beyond reality, but when do we actually cross that threshold?  Could we have actually experienced scenes as we remember them?

Each piece in the exhibition explores fantasy and escapism not only with evocative imagery, but also with a variety of source materials and methods of display.  In Brief Encounter, Kun proffers a film noir still of a car driving into the depths of a rainy night and invites onlookers to remember not only familiar films with similar atmospheres, but their own experiences with departure and loss.  Kun also manipulates the foreground into a complex, dramatic tableau; the foreground presents an almost surrealist puddle without the literal interference of a window.  Condensation from precipitation, however, is reserved for the background; the scenario is physically impossible, and the painting teases the mind to understand its dissonance.

Objects like ropes, hot air balloons and old-fashioned cars accrue an almost satirical element with their nostalgic references to a pleasant past and childhood. These idyllic environments are predominately kept in the background of these pieces, but the masterfully painted objects feel at once fresh with their photo-realistic qualities.  These are contemporary works that challenge the effectiveness of memory and suggest that nostalgia shapes and colors our interpretations of the past.  Kun’s paintings for this exhibition whisper that with time, recollections of reality can include measures of fantasy.

Shay Kun is an Israeli-born and New York-based artist.  He earned his B.F.A. at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and proceeded to earn his M.F.A. from Goldsmiths College in London, England.  Recent and upcoming exhibitions include “Animamix,” The Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum, China (2009); “Exfoliations,” Benrimon Contemporary, New York (2010); “The Law of the Jungle,” Lehman Maupin Gallery, New York (2010); “Overcast,” Hezi Cohen Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel (2010); “Update Your Realty,” Alexander Ochs Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2011); “Rebreather,” Lamontagne Gallery, Boston, MA (2011); “Figuration Y?,” Galerie Favardin & De Verneuil, Paris, France (2012); Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL (2012). 

Benrimon Contemporary is located at 514 West 24th Street, 2E, New York, NY 10011 between 10th and 11th Avenues.  Our hours are Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sunday by appointment.

For further information or images, please contact Molly Sampson at 212.924.2400 or