'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...
There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
Lisson Gallery is pleased to announce the representation of Paris-based artist, Bernard Piffaretti, in New York. For his first exhibition in the Tenth Avenue location, Piffaretti will present new paintings alongside a small selection of earlier work, all composed using the signature duplication method in which the artist has worked for nearly four decades.
After first dividing a canvas into halves with a central vertical strip of paint, Piffaretti creates a typically graphic, abstract composition in bold colour on one side, and then repeats the pattern on the other. The viewer's ensuing challenge of trying to ascertain which painterly act occurred first strikes at the heart of Piffaretti's conceptual concerns.
By highlighting our aesthetic and emotional tendencies for problem-solving and resolution the artist both affirms and restrains the narrative power of painting. Through this technique of mirroring or doubling an image, the artist continues the philosophical exploration of difference and repetition. His occasional Tondi and petits tableaux works, with their surprise blank halves, subvert our expectations, and further emphasise the efficient simplicity of the unique pictorial game being played.
Piffaretti began developing his method in the 1970s, settling on the central mark and division method in 1986. Conceived initially as a way for the artist to escape the painted gesture and expressionist influences, the procedure is not so much a critique of abstract painting but a comment on the concept of originality. For Piffaretti, the subject of his paintings is the process-his objective is to remove any trace of subjectivity through these meta-pictures.
This quasi-mechanical approach to painting has its roots in different moments of Post-War French painting-the varied projects of Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier, Simon Hantaï and Claude Viallat have all informed the artist's own development. Incorporating the philosophies of these artists, Piffaretti does not seek to mimic the appearance when 'copying' one side of a painting to the other, but instead re-creates the same movements in his painting process. In this sense invention and rehearsal happen in the same moment. By this very methodical act, the artist is investigating Abstract Expressionism's romanticism of the spontaneous gesture.
Piffaretti's paintings show no distinguishable trace of recurring theme or motif and include a variety of styles and visual vocabularies. However straight-forward the strategy may be, and after the original impulses of Abstraction have long been questioned and tested by others, the creativity it allows in Piffaretti's work is evidently boundless.
About Bernard Piffaretti
Bernard Piffaretti was born in Saint-Etienne in 1955. His work has been exhibited at numerous institutions including as Kunstverein Schwäbisch Hall, Germany (2017); Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France (2015); FRAC Franche-Comté, Besançon, France (2015); FRAC Haute-Normandie, Rouen, France (2010); Le Portique, Le Havre, France (2010); Musée d'art moderne de Saint-Etienne, France (2009); Musée Matisse, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France (2008); MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland (2007); Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain (2000). Piffaretti has been featured in significant group exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Museum of Fine Arts, Rennes, France; Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon, South Korea; Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany; Hara Museum ARC, Shibukawa, Japan; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong; CACPC Museum of Contemporary Art, Bordeaux, France; and the Joan Miro Foundation (Barcelona, Spain), among others. His work is in the permanent collection of the Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, France; CAPC Musée d'art contemporain, Bordeaux, France; Musée d'arte modern, Saint-Etienne, France; and Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, France, and others. Piffaretti lives and works in Paris, France.
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