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Bernard Piffaretti Biography

Bernard Piffaretti is known for duplicate panel paintings that show abstract images alongside their identical reproduction reflecting on notions of originality, copy, and completion.

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Early Years

Born in 1955 in Saint-Etienne, France, Bernard Piffaretti studied at the École des Beaux-Arts de Saint-Etienne from 1973 to 1979.

Bernard Piffaretti Artworks

Bernard Piffaretti's dual-panel paintings show near-identical replications of abstract and geometric patterns split along a line on the vertical axis.

Systematic Replication

Piffaretti developed the 'Piffaretti system' in 1986, which offers the framework that structures every one of his compositions: each painting is comprised of two panels that appear identical, separated by a black strip – one being the initial image, the second, an attempt at its duplication.

Upon completion, there remains little difference between original and copy, despite the second image offering only an imperfect replication of the initial gesture, distinctions that manifest through the inclination of the brushstrokes, the weight of the hue, and the number of dips of his paintbrush.

One untitled acrylic on canvas from 1998 shows two large, forest-green, rectangular forms, rendered in portrait orientation, marked with a small white square above a white rectangle placed in the left-hand corner of each of the two panels. The difference between the original green panel on one side, and its replication on the other is minimal but noticeable, attesting to the artist's lack of desire for perfect replication.

Even from afar, one can see the small bush shape, painted on the white rectangle form in the lower left corner, in the first frame is rendered with greater pressure on the righthand side, while the strokes that form the diagonal red lines that mark the small white square and rectangle arrive from different directions.

In other works, the second half of the panel is left blank because of the complexity of the initial shapes painted, evoking the impossibility of reproducing the artistic gesture.

Paintings about Painting

Piffaretti's paintings about painting is well expressed in Untitled (métapeinture) from 1993, which shows faded rounded outlines of the female torso replicated across both panels. Here, the 'meta', or self-referential element appears to be expressed in basic grey tones and simple shapes that made up the figure, evoking a return to the maternal womb or life's essence.

In Untitled, a work from 2019, which prints 'BE THE ONE' in blue, red, and green letters, due to the familiarity of textual forms and their equal legibility, the line between what came first and what follows is put into question, as well as the idea of the complete, or perfected image.

Image and Reproduction

Piffaretti often realises drawings after paintings to 'seize his own work', which reverses the more typical artistic process that begins with preparatory sketches.

This breaking away from tradition is particularly notable when considered within the context of French painting, known for its adherence to singularity and continuation, and considers the image in its own right, rather than as a reproduction.

'Duplication creates other conditions of observation and plunges the viewer into a productive, and sometimes jubilant, malaise. That is the intention of the image.' Piffaretti has said.

Exhibitions

Bernard Pifferetti's works have been shown in Europe, Asia, the United States, and the UK.

Solo exhibitions include Lisson Gallery, Shanghai (2021); Surplus Space, Wuhan (2021); galerie frank elbaz, Paris (2020); Galerie Klemm's, Berlin (2019); Marta Cervera Gallery, Madrid (2018); Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles (2018); Kate Macgarry, London (2017); Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes (2015); and Galerie Nicolas Krupp, Basel (2008).

Group exhibitions include Lisson Gallery, London (2020); National Gallery of Washington (2019); IVAM, Valencia (2019); Musée des Beaux Arts de Rennes (2015); MAMCO, Geneva (2015); Kavi Gupta, Berlin (2012); Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea (2011); and Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris (2006).

The artist lives and works in Paris.

Gallery

Bernard Pifferetti is represented by Kate MacGarry (London) and Lisson Gallery (East Hampton/London/New York/Shanghai).

Website

Bernard Pifferetti website can be found here, his Instagram here.

Elaine YJ Zheng | Ocula | 2022

Bernard Piffaretti
featured artworks

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Untitled by Bernard Piffaretti contemporary artwork painting
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 2023 Acrylic on canvas
139.5 x 144 x 3.5 cm
Lisson Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Bernard Piffaretti contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 2022 Acrylic on canvas
150 x 100 x 2 cm
Lisson Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Bernard Piffaretti contemporary artwork painting
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 1995 Acrylic on canvas
250 x 294 cm
Lisson Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Bernard Piffaretti contemporary artwork painting
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
150 x 150 x 2.5 cm
Lisson Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Bernard Piffaretti contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
240 x 200 cm
Lisson Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Bernard Piffaretti contemporary artwork painting
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 1989 Acrylic on canvas
195 x 249 cm
Kate MacGarry Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Bernard Piffaretti contemporary artwork painting
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 1987 Acrylic on canvas
144.5 x 140 cm
Kate MacGarry Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Bernard Piffaretti contemporary artwork print
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
200 x 100 cm
Kate MacGarry Request Price & Availability
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Bernard Piffaretti
current & recent
exhibitions

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Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

Lisson Gallery contemporary art gallery in Lisson Street, London, United Kingdom
Lisson Gallery Beijing, London, Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai +1
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