Julian Schnabel — Shiva Paintings



Julian Schnabel
Shiva Paintings

Past: March 11 → May 13, 2017

Following on from exhibitions of Julian Schnabel’s work in 1980, 1983 and 1995 in Paris, in spring 2017 Galerie Templon will be presenting a series of work by the American painter previously unseen in France: Shiva Paintings.


Julian Schnabel uses the figure of the Hindu god, Shiva, to build a dialogue between Western culture and Eastern traditions. By applying his words, gestures and abstract forms in oil and resin to pre-existing images of Shiva printed on polyester, Julian Schnabel is embarking on a ‘palimpsest of representation’ 1 with an a posteriori modification of existing and well-known imagery.

The photographed painting of Shiva is placed in the background, yet seems to emerge as a subject in the foreground thanks to the powerful effect of the artist’s actions: in the image of the god, both dissembling and enlightening, the painting that covers him serves as a force for revelation. Julian Schnabel adopts an approach similar to the Hindu vision of destruction as a principle serving to create a new world. In an interplay of hybridisation techniques and synthesis between modern abstraction and Eastern tradition, Julian Schnabel raises the question of the revitalization of Western culture. And infers that ‘for art to prevail’2 , the artist needs to draw on every source: from the ancestral to the modern, from both the East and the West.

Born in New York in 1951, Julian Schnabel divides his time between New York and Montauk, Long Island, in the USA. His work as a painter, sculptor and director is constantly evolving. He first gained recognition in the late 1970s with his broken crockery paintings. Alongside JM Basquiat, Eric Fischl and Davis Salle, he was a member of the neo-expressionist movement which advocated a return to figurative art combining violence and emotion. A master of monumental formats, Julian Schnabel has explored a vast array of styles, materials and techniques (plaster, plates, lorry tarpaulins, sails and doors). He directed his first film in 1996, Basquiat, followed by Before Night Falls (2000), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) and Miral (2010).

The influence his work has on a new generation of American artists is increasingly evident, and his artistic journey is the subject of a critical re-examination.


Julian Schnabel first exhibited his work in France at Galerie Templon in Paris in 1980. His work has since been exhibited throughout the world, including at the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, 1982), Tate Gallery (London, 1982), Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (1987), Centre Pompidou (Paris, 1987), Whitney Museum of Modern Art ( NYC, 1987), San Francisco Museum of Art (1987), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels, 1989), Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid, 2004), Museo Correr (Venice, 2011), Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (2014) and Aspen Art Museum (2016).

His work also features in the most prestigious international collections, including at the MOMA (NYC), Whitney Museum of American Art, Met (NYC), Moca (LA), Tate (London) and Mnam-Centre Pompidou (Paris).

1 Donatien Grau, Julian Schnabel, 2014, Guy Pieters Gallery

2 idem

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  • Julian Schnabel