Simon Hantaï — Regard sur quelques Tabulas



Simon Hantaï
Regard sur quelques Tabulas

Past: October 15 → November 28, 2015

Galerie Jean Fournier is pleased to be presenting A Look Back at the Tabulas, an exhibition devoted to Simon Hantaï’s Tabulas series. The exhibition takes the form of a selection of major works, two of them remarkable, large-scale pieces only ever shown at the Museum Ludwig retrospective in Budapest in 2014.

In the catalogue of the retrospective at the Musée National d’Art Moderne In Paris in 2013, Dominique Fourcade speaks of the sensuality of the Tabulas and the way they engage our sight, our touch and even our hearing: “An unforgettable experience for anyone who has seen, at least once, the knots at the corner of each square on the back of the canvas. Once again, such alluring surface relief — sculpture, irrepressibly. And the sound it makes: for the marvel is that it’s audible, a mingling of champagne corks popping and a wave hissing on the sand; all pleasure, and excitement.”1

The Tabulas are characterised by their regularly folded squares, gestural repetition and masterly use of colour. Extending over ten years, from 1972 to 1982, this series represents a major phase in the Hantaï oeuvre, when he systematized and simplified the act of painting: knotting the canvas, painting it, then unfolding it.

In his book L’étoilement (The Starring Effect) Georges Didi-Huberman, a personal and intellectual ally of Hantaï, addresses the issue of the pictorial space created by the knot and its undoing: “A knot, says Hantaï, is first of all ’the meeting point between a vertical and a horizontal’. But the knot immediately does more than establish a junction. In one sense it invaginates space, creating pockets and folded, tactile innernesses; in another it opens space up to the starring effect, to what Hantaï calls a ’spatialising explosion’ which is also optical.”2

Through its deliberately restricted choice — ten works small and large, monochrome and polychrome — this exhibition includes the different kinds of folding used in the Tabulas, from regular grids of little squares to the double forms. Thus it covers the richness of what was for Hantaï an especially productive period.

1 Dominique Fourcade, “1973–1982, Les Tabulas, in Sheer Hantaïcity”, in Dominique Fourcade, Isabelle Monod-Fontaine and Alfred Pacquement (eds.), Simon Hantaï, exh. cat. (Paris: Centre Pompidou, 2013), p. 183.

2 Georges Didi-Huberman, L’étoilement (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1988), p. 90.

  • Opening Thursday, October 15, 2015 6 PM → 8:30 PM
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  • Simon Hantaï