With its display of industrial paintings, of objects that are painted, stacked or simply put on pedestals, of crashed Alfa Romeo, Walt Disney Productions, Stella-styled neons, whitewashed shop windows, upholstery fabrics or African statues, the exhibit sheds light on Lavier's unique ability to question our certainties of the identity of painting, sculpture, photography or representation.
After the monographic exhihibitions dedicated to Jean-Michel Othoniel and François Morellet in 2011, Bertrand Lavier takes center stage at the Centre Pompidou with an unprecedented retrospective which has benefited from the artist’s friendly input. The Centre Pompidou is thus proud of its commitment to major the leading figures of the French contemporary art scene. The exhibition features around fifty major works, including several recent creations, giving an overview of the artist’s work since 1969.
Bertrand Lavier has been hailed for several decades as one of the major artists to emerge after modernism on the European scene. All his “building sites” or “chantiers”, as he calls his series of artworks characterized by a great variety of materials and techniques, play on the same ”wavelength” and turn to his turn of mind, his humour and a nonsensical spiritas well as his virtuosity.
For the artist, to create a contemporary work of art has to do with the singular look he takes at the real which he will then distort through a series of tiny, almost mundane, gestures or unexpected pairing, thus exposing its absudity while triggering poetic moments.
With its display of industrial paintings, of objects that are painted, stacked or simply put on pedestals, of crashed Alfa Roméo, Walt Disney Productions, Stella-styled neons, whitewashed shop windows, upholstery fabrics or African statues, the exhibit sheds light on Lavier’s unique ability to question our certainties of the identity of painting, sculpture, photography or representation.
On the outset of his career, in the 1970s, the artist launched into a rebuke of conceptual art which was triumphant then. The quest for raw emotion is one of the enduring characteristics of Bertrand Lavier’s production which he achieves by making use of objects icons of our collective psyche. His overwhelming concern has been to challenge identities. As such in 1987 he borrowed from the world of sport, having a tennis court built for Documenta 8. Of the athlete’s perfect gesture he wants to retain the beauty and even the panache.
Image: Bertrand Lavier, Giulietta-vue de dos, 1993 Automobile accidentée, 166 × 420 × 142 cm © Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg
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