En ce qui me concerne… de Claude Rutault


Graphic design, installation, lithography / engraving, painting...

En ce qui me concerne… de Claude Rutault

Past: January 9 → February 7, 2015

The exhibition, En ce qui me concerne…

A stretched canvas painted the same color as the wall on which it’s hung.

This is the initial formulation from which all of Claude Rutault’s de-finitions/methods are constructed since the early seventies; the de-finition/method is the term he uses to define the protocols determining his works. In March 1973, he repaints his kitchen. It is in this quite ordinary context that the artist paints a canvas in the same color as the wall of the room he is renovating, as the wall on which canvas is hung.

Claude Rutault is a painter. However, by starting each of his paintings with a written protocol, — the now famous de-finition/method,– he gives a foremost place to writing to his painting.

The de-finition/méthods are the most notorious examples, but in Claude Rutault’s work, there is also a substantial series of written texts, which are essential in order to apprehend his art. Marie-Hélène Breuil, author of a thesis in Art History at Paris IV — Sorbonne in 2009, L’œuvre de Claude Rutault — définitions/méthodes : écriture, peinture, sociabilité, bases part of her study on the hypothesis of the development of a written painting.

Peinture suicide 4 medium
Claude Rutault, Peinture-suicide n° 4, Intelligence Service Productions, Paris 1987, 0 200 copies poster offset print in 1 color (blue), texte in white on blue background — 63 × 48 cm Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Mfc — Michèle Didier, Paris

The exhibition En ce qui me concerne…, presented at mfc-michèle didier gallery, focuses on this constitutive — and considerable — part of the artist’s work: the written part. Since the seventies, Claude Rutault turns to various forms of printing (posters, catalogs, books, booklets, invitation cards) in order to diffuse various types of texts. The idea of publishing and publication are at the core of his work.

“[…] for a long time, I have wanted to make a book that would be able to compete with painting, so that written text would not only lead the way to painting, but would exempt us from the need to paint. A book that would have the same visual and material quality, the same irreducible scope as a painting, but with its own weapons, paper ink colors characters typography.”1

“[…] the attentive reader/spectator will observe that these books, catalogs or booklets are much more than a simple compendium of texts, of instructions. It is a formal research that conceptually creates a link between his writings and his pictorial practice.”2

Claude Rutault quotes Guy Schraenen in his “bibliographicitation 1973- 2000” published in définitions/méthodes le livre.

You will notice that quotes are used here profusely. Marie-Hélène Breuil rightly underlines, in Entretien écrit avec Claude Rutault3, that it is difficult to write about the artist’s work without using his own comments or direct quotes.

The writing is ubiquitous. The writing contributes to Claude Rutault’s renouncing to be a painter in the traditional sense. It gives him the chance to abandon the prerogatives of this status, to renounce authorship of the work without renouncing the work itself.

The de-finition/method of 2009, entitled premières pages I, points out the idea of publishing, which is at the core of the wording:bq. “ (…) the work is a book which subject of interest is painting, he (the “charge-taker”4) is the author of a book that tends to The Book, which is the work with a capital letter. The Book, as well as the Painting it describes, is yet to come.» premières pages I is a new renouncing that Claude Rutault aspires to, which is “the renouncing of having the final say”5.

The exhibition En ce qui me concerne… is a “prise en charge” by Claude Rutault, of the exhibition imprimés 1973 — 2013, conceived by Didier Mathieu and shown previously at the Centre des livres d’artistes in Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche.

1 Claude Rutault, seconde livraison (entry “catalogue”), la peinture fait des vagues, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Brest, 2007

2 Guy Schraenen, Claude Rutault bibliographie 1998, Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, Brême, 1998

3 claude rutault, Michel Gauthier, Marie-Hélène Breuil, Flammarion, 2010

4 The charge-taker is the term chosen by Claude Rutault to identify the buyer of a de-finition/method. The charge-taker plays an active role in the existence of the artist’s work.

5 claude rutault, Michel Gauthier, Marie-Hélène Breuil, Flammarion, 2010


Biographical note of the artist by the artist

Painting is living, as there is a life that is neither anterior nor exterior to the act of painting. A painting that only concerns life as a painter. A painting that is at first written. A written painting, not a described one. Impossible to imagine it, only after the reading the dm’s text, too much elements are missing, especially the address. I only write about painting. I renounce to the pictorial art as it is, a painting that “forms a crust”. It may not be displayed in a retrospective solo show, except if it blends in with the color of al the other present dm. Expecting the worst, I avoid every new intrusion in a library that is already unmovable; the worst being that writing leads me to the privation of the act of painting, is it really a privation? Whatever the answer may be, the renouncing will only be effective after all the works between 1958 and 1973 have been repainted.

The most difficult moment, this moment of thrill because, exactly opposite to the submission to an external order that is now impossible, my position, open to direct witnesses, more than 500 repainted paintings, and their first charge-takers. Proof of the persistence of the risky opening of a series of proposals that have yet to come: opening to what is open. Now that the dm have been published, I am now unable to stop a process I have no power over. The biography of the painter is the one of someone who is looking for a paper, a paper which was here, on the table, right next to the pot. I can’t have disappeared.

If there were a biography, it wouldn’t be mine. It would be that of the charge-takers, as the writing of the painting will have allowed me to leave the scene.

Claude Rutault, la peinture fait des vagues, Musée des beaux-arts, Brest, 2007

  • Opening Thursday, January 8, 2015 6 PM → 9 PM

    In the company of the artist. The exhibition premier at the mfc-michèle didier gallery will also be the occasion for the launch of the catalogue for Claude Rutault’s exhibition prints 1973-2013, edited by the Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche centre for artist books and overseen by Marie-Hélène Breuil and Didier Mathieu.

03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

66, rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth

75003 Paris

T. 01 71 27 34 41


Arts et Métiers
Strasbourg Saint-Denis

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Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

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