(im)matériel — Pierre Buraglio — Simon Hantaï — Kacha Legrand — Florindo Nanni — Michel Parmentier — Adrien Vescovi
Pierre Buraglio — Simon Hantaï — Kacha Legrand — Florindo Nanni — Michel Parmentier — Adrien Vescovi
Past: December 4, 2014 → January 17, 2015
“(im)material”, the new exhibition at Galerie Jean Fournier, brings together works by six artists. It continues the programme begun with Almost Black and White in December 2013 and Outside the Box in the spring of 2014. These exhibitions are a point of intersection between some of Galerie Jean Fournier’s iconic artists and others who share the gallery’s involvement with painterly abstraction.
“(im)material” comprises works that make use of the properties of their materials — the density or fragility of fabric, tracing paper, wrapping paper, glassine, recycled envelopes — to reveal the picture space through simple acts: folding and unfolding, juxtaposition, assemblage and discolouration.
In France this combination of methods and materials has been crucial to the approach of many artists since the 1960s and movements like Supports-Surfaces and BMPT. The concerns of that period are now being reassessed. In this respect the oeuvre of Simon Hantaï (1922–2008) is seminal, in that it simultaneously challenges and proposes numerous painterly solutions, beginning with folding and unfolding: “Something happened through and in painting — line, form and colour brought together in a single act.”1Matisse blazed the trail with his cutouts of the 1940s and the ’single act’ of combining painting, drawing and sculpture.
“(im)material” includes a Blanc by Simon Hantaï in which the regular folding sets up a vibration between the colour and the white of the canvas. Next to it, at once diaphanous and grave, a sober work on tracing paper by Michel Parmentier (1938-2000) combines opacity and transparency. Pierre Buraglio (b. 1939) reactivates an installation –envelopes unfolded and pinned in lines on the wall — already shown in the gallery in 1978 and at the Musée National d’Art Moderne’s Walls exhibition in 1981. Opened up, the envelopes reveal the blue of the paper inside them. The coloured shapes obtained by unfolding and tearing are orchestrated by the repetition of this basic act. This highly Matissean blue space is doomed to disappear in the course of its exposure to light. Buraglio, then, materialises an ephemeral coloured space, while Hantaï fixes it in time.
Florindo Nanni (b. 1952), Kacha Legrand (b. 1960) and Adrien Vescovi (b. 1981) have adopted different stances in the wake of these approaches, with each of them paying particular attention to colour. Staggering, separation and juxtaposition render the coloured space concrete and more dense. To obtain this ’palpable transparency’ Nanni, in a recent series, uses thick tracing paper and encaustic applied with a cloth. The translucency of the material in combination with the velvety character of the medium, seems to give added weight to the colour. In a previously unshown series from the 1980s, Kacha Legrand paints on assemblages of papers of different thicknesses and textures. Once pinned into place, these collages become integral parts of the wall. Adrien Vescovi creates monochrome paintings using fabric dyed, stretched and left out in the sun to change colour. The fabric is then placed on larger stretchers, revealing the marks of discolouration. As in Hantaï’s foldings, the colour effects obtained in this way structure the actual picture space.
The “(im)material” exhibition is intended as a conversation between works by tutelary figures — Hantaï, Parmentier, Buraglio — and other artists who continue to investigate the picture today or seek to transcend their materials so as to bring forth what is immaterial in painting.
1 Simon Hantaï quoted by Hubert Damisch, “Rencontres en champ/contrechamp. La peinture en mal d’explic(it)ation”, in the catalogue of the exhibition Simon Hantaï — François Rouan. Conversation (Paris: Galerie Jean Fournier, 2005), unpaginated.
Opening Thursday, December 4, 2014 6 PM → 8:30 PM
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