Pierre Mabille — chercher une forme



Pierre Mabille
chercher une forme

Past: January 22 → March 7, 2015

Since 1997 Mabille has been concentrating on repeated exploration of a single form, one which came to him for the first time when reading Fernando Pessoa’s poem ’The Tobacco Shop’, in which the shop sign functions as a visual trigger for the poem’s narrative development.

Layered, multiplied, repeated unvaryingly, this single form — a pointed oval — offers Mabille ever-greater freedom not only pictorially, but also in his use of colour: for the subject of his painting is colour in all its variations and accidents.

In terms of form and colour his recent work is marked by a much greater complexity and richness. This has given rise to the formation of groups, which the artist calls ’families’. Three of these groups make up this exhibition.

In the first, medium-format group, the elongated oval generates an undulating movement which orients the viewer’s reading of the picture. The coloured curves intertwine and delineate the form, while the strips and forms mingle without actually mixing.

In the second group, this movement seems to be frozen by the presence of horizontal strips, which set up a grid within which interpolation of the oval form halts the flow. The areas of flat colour set off an interplay of transparency with the modulated surface, with the previous layers, brushstrokes and pencil marks showing through.

In the final group the form is set free, opening up and becoming fully itself in large areas of solid colour. Ample and generous, the oval shape seems to be afloat in colour.

In parallel with his work as a painter, Pierre Mabille has put together an anti-dictionary of possible definitions of ’his form’. Fuelled by this collection of words and images, his painting is moving towards greater chromatic richness and greater balance. As art and culture historian Christine Lapostolle has put it, ’There is something radiant in Pierre Mabille’s painting. It emanates an energy which is then absorbed back into the picture field.’1

To mark this exhibition and to accompany two other solo shows — mélanger les lumières at the Dulcie Galerie at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Nantes (4 March–11 April) and liquider les contours at the Villa Tamaris art centre at Seyne-sur-Mer (19 September–8 November) — Galerie Jean Fournier has joined forces with these venues and the publishing house Analogues to issue a monograph containing texts by Michel Pastoureau, Christine Lapostolle, Claire Nédellec and Jean-Marc Huitorel, together with an illustrated, annotated biography.

1 Excerpt from ’Pouvoir des Yeux’ by Christine Lapostolle, Pierre Mabille, Éditions Analogues, Arles, 2014, p.64.

  • Opening Thursday, January 22, 2015 6 PM → 8:30 PM
  • Pierre Mabille — Signature Meeting Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 3 PM

    Book signing for the monograph at the gallery on Saturday 7 February, beginning at 3 pm.

07 Paris 7 Zoom in 07 Paris 7 Zoom out

22, rue du Bac

75007 Paris

T. 01 42 97 44 00


Rue du Bac

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 12:30 PM / 2 PM – 7 PM

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Venue schedule

The artist

  • Pierre Mabille