The catalogue Michael Byron was published in conjunction with the exhibition of Michael Byron at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (12 October – 24 November 1991), which took place simultaneously with the exhibition A Suite of 100 Drawings 1989 – 1991 at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (6 October – 17 November 1991).
Witte de With and Boijmans van Beuningen proceeded in this first major exhibition of the artist’s work outside the gallery circuit, as at the time Michael Byron had been one of the few young artists who knew how to build a bridge between the histories of American and European painting.
Witte de With focused on presenting Byron’s paintings produced until five years before the exhibition, while at Boijmans van Beuningen a cycle of one hundred drawings, from 1990 until the time of the exhibition, was shown. This double exhibition offered an opportunity to make a comparison between the role of a museum and that of an exhibition space such as Witte de With.
The symbols, figures and objects of Byron’s paintings as well as his assemblages, which should be looked at as paintings, are elements of bizarre and theatrical ideas; ideas that belong to a perceptible and imperceptible reality. For Michael Byron, the painter’s canvas is a landscape where autobiographical remembrances are told. A comparison with the work of Julião Sarmento, whose exhibition at Witte de With occurred simultaneously, has been especially interesting because both artists have been true travelers, peddlers of a ponderous imagery.