Bernard Piffaretti: Je n’ai jamais peint un tableau récent
1037 N. Sycamore Ave.
Friday, April 12 at 6:00 PM 8:00 PM
Ends Jun 8, 2024
Lisson Gallery is delighted to announce a solo exhibition of paintings by French artist Bernard Piffaretti spanning a time period from 1987 to 2019. The presentation of 12 large-scale works marks the first time Piffaretti will showcase with the gallery in Los Angeles. For over four decades, the artist has deployed his distinctive method now known as “the Piffaretti system.” In accordance with this process, each canvas is first of all bisected by a single vertical line. The artist then paints a spontaneous composition on one side of that dividing boundary, and then repeats it on the other. The deliberate ensuing ambiguity as to which side was painted first questions notions of originality, the authentic gesture, and completion. Upon entering the gallery, visitors are met with Piffaretti’s abstractions in close dialogue with one another. The artist views his oeuvre as a constantly refined singular work, carefully curating exhibitions to feature compositions from various years, often with a decade or more between them. In this instance, the exhibition is comprised of paintings made over a span of thirty years, and traces back to some of the earliest pieces made using Piffaretti’s signature motif. The oldest work on view, Untitled (1987), was created just one year after the artist began consistently basing his practice around “the central mark”. In addition to the division of his canvases, there are other facets that can also be traced through Piffaretti’s practice. For example, Untitled (1990) features a sequence of crossed red lines forming a lattice structure and Untitled (2008) presents a series of multicolored bulbous shapes, both recurring elements within his larger body of work. These details are present in other paintings such as Untitled (2005) and Untitled (1994) respectively. Piffaretti's commitment to looking back, whether immediately with his mirrored canvases or historically through references, is central to his method. In the same vein, the exhibition’s title, an adoption of a 1969 quote by Man Ray directly translating to “I have never painted a recent painting,” is a nod to Piffaretti’s belief that no work is ever truly new. To him, nothing is without precedent. As well as referencing his own previous pieces, the artist has cited influence from an array of painters, ranging from the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Henri Matisse to Barnett Newman and Andy Warhol. The works resulting from Piffaretti’s “system” act as a physical representation of the artist’s inclination to question the traditions and institution of painting.
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