On Paper



On Paper

Past: March 2 → April 6, 2024

With: Giulia Andreani, Louise Bonnet, André Butzer, Carroll Dunham, Ida Ekblad, Barry Flanagan, Günther Förg, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jake Longstreth, Victor Man, Danielle Mckinney, Albert Oehlen, Adam Pendleton, Richard Prince, Eleanor Swordy, Tursic & Mille, Rinus Van de Velde, Grace Weaver.

Galerie Max Hetzler, Paris, is pleased to present On Paper, a group exhibition exploring the concerns associated with the use of paper as a material. Considering the expectations of this medium, through a range of artists working across various techniques, this exhibition demonstrates the extent of its richness and versatility.

The exhibition reveals how paper, far from being merely preparatory to painting, has been a source of constantly renewed experimentation and research for several generations of artists, from Albert Oehlen (b. 1954) through to Grace Weaver (b. 1989).

Thus, Tursic & Mille (b. 1974) reveal the invisible part of their creative process, that which unfolds in the intimacy of the studio, by presenting a set of oils on which they tested their compositions and colours. Katharina Grosse (b. 1961) gives the viewer the opportunity to observe on paper the visual language she usually develops on canvas or in architectural spaces. Ida Ekblad (b. 1980) shifts the distinct vibrancy and spontaneity of her compositions from canvas to paper; and André Butzer (b. 1973) evokes the candid creativity of young children, playfully challenging conventional notions of artistic mastery.

Richard Prince (b. 1949), Adam Pendleton (b. 1984), and Oehlen each blur the boundaries between modes of reading, as much as between representation and abstraction, collage, drawing and photography. Prince, by cropping and reassembling fragments of the female body on paper; Pendleton, by articulating his work around the idea of Black Dada, an ever-evolving enquiry into the relationships between Blackness, abstraction and the avant-garde; and Oehlen, by overlaying the Ömega sign in order to undermine the distinction between abstraction and figuration.

In the series Jan 70, 1970, Barry Flanagan (1941­–2009) used the tactile properties of paper to bear his thumbprints, creating aesthetic and complex images which toy with notions of authorship and ownership. The exhibition also presents works on paper by Günther Förg (1952–2013) which emphasise his manifold occupation with material and surface. Far from confining the practice of drawing on paper to a hierarchical role inferior to painting, artists such as Carroll Dunham (b. 1949), Jake Longstreth (b. 1977) and Rinus Van de Velde (b. 1983) frequently place this discipline at the heart of their artistic practices, employing paper as a primary material.

Paper is also the traditional ground for watercolour or gouache. In this vein, Weaver takes the elongated female bathers from her oils and collages, and transposes them into monochrome blue-toned portraits. Louise Bonnet (b. 1970) presents her first foray into watercolour painting with a series of characteristically distorted nudes, while in her six part painting Sans Titre (Immigrés italiens), 2016, Giulia Andreani (b. 1985) leaves expanses of unpainted paper visible, allowing the material to reflect the light, thus nuancing the artist’s palette of Payne’s grey, which she uses almost exclusively. Victor Man’s (b. 1974) Pietà (The Yellow Shadow of Christ), 2019–2020, conveys a glimpse into the inner realm of feelings and consciousness to the viewer.

Presented for the first time at the Paris gallery, Mark Grotjahn’s (b. 1968) geometric drawing explores the constructs of a multi-point perspective; Danielle Mckinney (b. 1981) captures quiet moments of domestic introspection; and Eleanor Swordy (b. 1987) deploys the plasticity of her dreamlike universe to engage directly with the potentialities of paper.

Ranging from the conceptual to the political, the figurative to the abstract and gestural, On Paper contends with the intimate and specific materiality and accessibility of this ancient medium, as it is subtly but significantly elevated to art in its own right.

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