Michiel Ceulers at Nicodim

Artists: Michiel Ceulers (featuring Kaspar Bosmans, Wim De Pauw, Birde Vanheerswynghels, and Benjamin Verhoeven)

Exhibition title: Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together)

Venue: Nicodim, Los Angeles, US

Date: July 17 – August 21, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers’ third solo exhibition with Nicodim considers the proverbial “canary in the coalmine” with new painting and sculpture. Forever employed as a harbinger of imminent danger, Ceulers concurrently examines the tiny avian as a sympathetic figure, a totem for the most fragile, the vulnerable, the first to disappear or be disappeared. Ceulers sees Los Angeles, like other cities with immense urban sprawl, as akin to the cages that isolate those canaries in the coalmines in direct opposition to their behavior when free: the birds prefer to couple-up and travel in groups. Rather than dwell on their isolation, he manifested the attitude of a canary recently liberated from solitary confinement, and invited friends Kasper Bosmans, Wim De Pauw, Birde Vanheerswynghels, and Benjamin Verhoeven to contribute to the show.

The discourse within the exhibition is also informed by two fictional, forever-coupled birds: Edina “Ed-die” Monsoon and Patricia “Patsy” Stone, the main characters in the classic BBC series Absolutely Fabulous, whom Ceulers sees as one of the most complex relationships of our time. (The title of his previous exhibition, A Condom Over A Zeppelin , was based on a Patsy zinger about Eddie’s ill-fitting outfit.) Though not always moonlight and roses, they always come through for one another in the end.

Ceulers’ art mirrors the artists’ real-life and fictive relationships, reflecting and highlighting the similarities and differences between them. Mirrors, a favored medium in Ceulers’ recent work, break the fourth wall of his paintings by allowing reality, if not the viewer, to occupy a place in the heart of their tableaus. In contrast with the tactile grid works for which he is best known, the mirror works act as a seduction and a distraction, they function almost as boobytraps;

when you gaze at them you end up staring at yourself and not the work. In this way, the idea of a tableau-as-representation is sabotaged. The work pushes its viewer back into the real real, and not the depicted real. Akin to the smooth surfaces of the monumental skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles that seduce our gaze while simultaneously repulsing it with their impenetrable exteriors, the audience is (somewhat more tenderly) encouraged to look back at themselves.

Text by Michaël Van Remoortere

Michiel Ceulers (b. 1986, Waregem, Belgium) lives and works in Ghent, Belgium and Berlin, Germany. Ceulers graduated from the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam in 2011. Exhibitions include A Condom over a Zeppelin, Island, Brussels, Belgium (2021); Michiel Ceulers and Jorge Peris: Endangered Species, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest (2020); A Fair Proposal, Barbara Seiler, Zurich, Switzerland (2019); Wenn es zittert wie ein Ente, DASH, Kortrijk, Belgium (2017, solo); LAURA (Ein bisschen Schnitzel in Magen war mir lieber als ein Vogel in den Himmel), Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2015, solo); ’The man who mistake his wife for a hat,’ Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam (2014, solo); ‘Der Charme einer vorbeigehenden Frau steht in der Regel in direktem Verhältnis zu dem Tempo ihres Ganges,’ Nogueras Blanchard, Madrid (2014, solo); Rien de plus qu’un théâtre d’idées fluctuantes et des échos de développements future, Arts Club, London (2014, solo).

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, Scissor Valley People (Birds of a Feather Flock Together), 2021, exhibition view, Nicodim, Los Angeles

Michiel Ceulers, The herald of his artistic progeny / soufflant votre trompette au milieu d’une fanfare, 2020-2021, oil, spraypaint, encaustic & tin foil on wood, 27.2 x 33.25 in, 69 x 84.5 cm

Michiel Ceulers, The herald of his artistic progeny / soufflant votre trompette au milieu d’une fanfare, 2020-2021, oil, spraypaint, encaustic & tin foil on wood, 27.2 x 33.25 in, 69 x 84.5 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Minenfeld für Rezensionen / eine Lehrstunde in Liebe (die Großzügigkeit der anderen), 2021, oil, encaustic, spray paint, gummies, and glitter on canvas on board, 30.3 x 39.4 in, 77 x 100 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Minenfeld für Rezensionen / eine Lehrstunde in Liebe (die Großzügigkeit der anderen), 2021, oil, encaustic, spray paint, gummies, and glitter on canvas on board, 30.3 x 39.4 in, 77 x 100 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Minenfeld für Rezensionen / eine Lehrstunde in Liebe (die Großzügigkeit der anderen), 2021, oil, encaustic, spray paint, gummies, and glitter on canvas on board, 30.3 x 39.4 in, 77 x 100 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Minenfeld für Rezensionen / eine Lehrstunde in Liebe (die Großzügigkeit der anderen), 2021, oil, encaustic, spray paint, gummies, and glitter on canvas on board, 30.3 x 39.4 in, 77 x 100 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Minenfeld für Rezensionen / eine Lehrstunde in Liebe (die Großzügigkeit der anderen), 2021, oil, encaustic, spray paint, gummies, and glitter on canvas on board, 30.3 x 39.4 in, 77 x 100 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Sir Robert’s Faux Opening, (Rapport Vroom Vroom), 2021, oil, acrylic, gloss paint, and gummies on canvas and tote bag, 31.5 x 25.5 in, 80 x 65 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Sir Robert’s Faux Opening, (Rapport Vroom Vroom), 2021, oil, acrylic, gloss paint, and gummies on canvas and tote bag, 31.5 x 25.5 in, 80 x 65 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Sir Robert’s Faux Opening, (Rapport Vroom Vroom), 2021, oil, acrylic, gloss paint, and gummies on canvas and tote bag, 31.5 x 25.5 in, 80 x 65 cm

Michiel Ceulers, An attempt to distance “painting” from the hegemony of its image, 2021, oil, encaustic, gloss paint, liquin, and glitter on wood, 20 x 27.5 in, 51 x 70 cm

Michiel Ceulers, An attempt to distance “painting” from the hegemony of its image, 2021, oil, encaustic, gloss paint, liquin, and glitter on wood, 20 x 27.5 in, 51 x 70 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Schwules Babys / Liza Minelli est une traîtresse / Der Satellit Jupiter, 2021, oil, encaustic, gloss paint, and glitter on canvas on cardboard on wood, 31.5 x 27.5 in, 80 x 70 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Schwules Babys / Liza Minelli est une traîtresse / Der Satellit Jupiter, 2021, oil, encaustic, gloss paint, and glitter on canvas on cardboard on wood, 31.5 x 27.5 in, 80 x 70 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Schlürfend aus einem Feuerwehrschlauch / when the world is flooded dance in the rain, 2021, oil, acrylic, glitter, perspex, silicone, and styrofoam on canvas, 31.5 x 39.5 in, 80 x 100 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Schlürfend aus einem Feuerwehrschlauch / when the world is flooded dance in the rain, 2021, oil, acrylic, glitter, perspex, silicone, and styrofoam on canvas, 31.5 x 39.5 in, 80 x 100 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Schlürfend aus einem Feuerwehrschlauch / when the world is flooded dance in the rain, 2021, oil, acrylic, glitter, perspex, silicone, and styrofoam on canvas, 31.5 x 39.5 in, 80 x 100 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Dans les tubes du Guggenheim (le dernier espoir de la romance picturale), 2021, acrylic and perspex on canvas and board, 28 x 22.25 in, 71 x 56.5 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Dans les tubes du Guggenheim (le dernier espoir de la romance picturale), 2021, acrylic and perspex on canvas and board, 28 x 22.25 in, 71 x 56.5 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Dans les tubes du Guggenheim (le dernier espoir de la romance picturale), 2021, acrylic and perspex on canvas and board, 28 x 22.25 in, 71 x 56.5 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Starter / Boy O Boy, 2020-2021, gloss paint and magazine clipping on canvas and wood, 31.5 x 21.65 in, 80 x 55 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Starter / Boy O Boy, 2020-2021, gloss paint and magazine clipping on canvas and wood, 31.5 x 21.65 in, 80 x 55 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Starter / Boy O Boy, 2020-2021, gloss paint and magazine clipping on canvas and wood, 31.5 x 21.65 in, 80 x 55 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Berliner Ensemble (Siesta), 2021, oil, encaustic, and perspex on canvas and wood, 24.8 x 15.75 in, 63 x 40 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Berliner Ensemble (Siesta), 2021, oil, encaustic, and perspex on canvas and wood, 24.8 x 15.75 in, 63 x 40 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Berliner Ensemble (Siesta), 2021, oil, encaustic, and perspex on canvas and wood, 24.8 x 15.75 in, 63 x 40 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Denkmall/incubator, 2021, cardboard, light fixture, paper, tape, 49 x 42.5 x 24.5 in, 124.5 x 108 x 62.25 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Denkmall/incubator, 2021, cardboard, light fixture, paper, tape, 49 x 42.5 x 24.5 in, 124.5 x 108 x 62.25 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Denkmall/incubator, 2021, cardboard, light fixture, paper, tape, 49 x 42.5 x 24.5 in, 124.5 x 108 x 62.25 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Denkmall/incubator, 2021, cardboard, light fixture, paper, tape, 49 x 42.5 x 24.5 in, 124.5 x 108 x 62.25 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Filme aus meinen Leben blitzen vor mir auf, 2021, bucket, cardboard, plexiglass, plastic, styrofoam, tape, wire, 25 x 22.5 x 20.5 in, 63.5 x 57.15 x 52 cm

Michiel Ceulers, Filme aus meinen Leben blitzen vor mir auf, 2021, bucket, cardboard, plexiglass, plastic, styrofoam, tape, wire, 25 x 22.5 x 20.5 in, 63.5 x 57.15 x 52 cm

Benjamin Verhoeven, Sculptural Movement: Chapter I & II, 2016, digital video; 12 minutes, 8 seconds





Benjamin Verhoeven, Sculptural Movement: Chapter I & II, 2016, digital video; 12 minutes, 8 seconds

Benjamin Verhoeven, Sculptural Movement: Chapter I & II, 2016, digital video; 12 minutes, 8 seconds

Benjamin Verhoeven, Sculptural Movement: Chapter I & II, 2016, digital video; 12 minutes, 8 seconds

Birde Vanheerswynghels, untitled, 2016, phtalocyanine green pigment on paper, 103 x 59 in, 261.6 x 150 cm

Birde Vanheerswynghels, untitled, 2016, phtalocyanine green pigment on paper, 103 x 59 in, 261.6 x 150 cm

Kasper Bosmans, Dwarf Parade Dog (Ruby Nipples), 2018, butter, rubies, 1.75 x 6.5 x 3 in, 4.5 x 16.5 x 7.6 cm

Kasper Bosmans, Dwarf Parade Dog (Ruby Nipples), 2018, butter, rubies, 1.75 x 6.5 x 3 in, 4.5 x 16.5 x 7.6 cm

Wim de Pauw, How to disappear (in America), 2019, glass, plastics, 33.5 x 25 x 33.5 in , 85 x 60 x 85 cm

Wim de Pauw, How to disappear (in America), 2019, glass, plastics, 33.5 x 25 x 33.5 in , 85 x 60 x 85 cm

Wim de Pauw, How to disappear (in America), 2019, glass, plastics, 33.5 x 25 x 33.5 in , 85 x 60 x 85 cm

Wim de Pauw, How to disappear (in America), 2019, glass, plastics, 33.5 x 25 x 33.5 in , 85 x 60 x 85 cm