Michel Parmentier — Avant les bandes, 1962-1965



Michel Parmentier
Avant les bandes, 1962-1965

Past: May 22 → June 21, 2014

Galerie Jean Fournier present an exhibition devoted to Michel Parmentier and, in particular, the 1962–1965 before the stripes period of works on paper and paintings.

Parmentier began his life as a painter by studying under André Chastel at the Ecole des Beaux-arts in Paris. At that time began a friendship with Simon Hantaï that ended only with Parmentier’s death in 2000. In 1966 Daniel Buren, Olivier Mosset, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni formed the group BMPT and showed their work at four ’manifestations’. Differences of opinion led Parmentier to leave the group in 1967.

For his works in the 1960s Parmentier drew his inspiration from what was happening in his everyday life. Until 1965 he sporadically used wrapping paper and newspapers as inserts and collages in his paintings. He was interested in these materials for their patterns and colours. Sometimes, too, he tore off pieces of his canvases, then overlaid the missing areas differently.

Black and white dominate in these works. Geometrical shapes initially painted black or grey are given a coat of white in a re-covering process that allowed for play with transparency and coloured modulations of strata of glued paper.

A marked feature of the Parmentier oeuvre, this use of concealment reflects the deep existential anxiety that drove the artist to work so delicately and suggestively. Each mark on the canvas is scored out by another: we see overlays of runs, pencil traces and colours. The paint is fluid in some places, thicker in others. His juxtapositions of papers and colours reveal what look like retouchings, the signs of hesitancy that in fact make up the works. This intentional approach gives the artist’s gestural method visible form.

Parmentier inflicted a deliberate, systematic process of wear and tear on his works: symbolically, in his use of materials foreign to the world of the fine arts — newspaper, wrappings, silver paper — but also materially, in his tearings, re-coverings and collage. “At this period Parmentier was painting in an informal vein, large white pages. He put lots of paint on his canvas, then added big white pourings. As if to hide everything.”1

His later explorations would take him towards large areas of flat colour marked by elusive transparencies. These works heralded the change that would bring the stripes, a movement towards impoverishment and dematerialisation. Making the shift from canvas to paper, Michel Parmentier would ultimately, in the late 1980s, opt for the translucency of tracing paper.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a booklet containing a text by Karim Ghaddab.

Galerie Loevenbruck in Paris will also be showing works by Michel Parmentier until 25 May 2014.

Villa Tamaris at La Seyne-sur-Mer is presenting a Michel Parmentier retrospective titled Oeuvres 1965–1999 from 14 June — 14 September.

The Albers-Honegger Concrete Art Space at Mouans Sartoux will also be showing works by Michel Parmentier as part of its collection.

1 Michel Parmentier, Textes et entretiens, Black Jack Editions, Paris, 2014, p. 61.

  • Opening Thursday, May 22, 2014 6 PM → 8:30 PM
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The artist

  • Michel Parmentier