Claude Viallat is at 84, one of the most famous painters in France and was part of “Supports surface”, a painting movement from the 1970’s. Represented by Leo Castelli in New York and Daniel Templon in Paris, he presents an exhibition of works made last year in his house of Nîmes. It is more than ever linked to this part of Provence where he was born and grew up (in Montpellier) and where his passion for tauromachy was developed. “Sutures et Varia” shows a number of pieces made with provençal fabric where his well known pattern is constantly present. It is an explosion of light and color that we need very much at the moment.
The new series of “Sutures” (stitches) realized last year is a reflection on the notion of junction. New fabrics with floral motives or new structures are assembled and folded by the artist. As always there is no canvas and no stretches, and the fabrics are free to float on the wall. “I am always surprised by the result even after so many years of practice” says the artist who creates intuitively. He uses industrial fabrics as well as daily linen from his own home. He creates paintings with a shape completely free from the conventional formats.
There is a freshness and a youth in these new works that mesmerized me. I felt I had seen many of his paintings before and walked in the gallery slightly blasée… yet, I was totally surprised. His art was caracterised of “Lyrical abstraction” when he first started fifty years ago and the expression has never been more true as today. Famous for his illustration of a book on bull fighting “Toros bravos”, Claude Viallat has also created stained glass windows for the church of Notre Dame des Sablons in Aigues Mortes, a little village in Camargue. And many drawings.
The exhibition at Galerie Templon is on until March 20 at 28 rue du Grenier Saint Lazare. In the other gallery of 30 rue Beaubourg, don’t miss the extraordinary Iván Navarro show and in Brussels, Omar Ba.
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