2-19 May 2016
Westreich Wagner, 114 Greene St #2, 10012 New York
Thea Westreich Wagner & Ethan Wagner and Campoli Presti are pleased to announce Christian Bonnefoi’s solo exhibition featuring early works at 114 Greene St #2, New York.
Over the past 40 years, Christian Bonnefoi has markedly contributed to the art-historical conversation that distinguishes painting – a visible surface - from tableau – an analytical plane subject to division and structure. A student of Hubert Damisch and Jean-Louis Schefer, Bonnefoi worked closely with Yve-Alain Bois and Jean Clay around the journal Macula in the mid-seventies. Bonnefoi’s work has been later contextualized within revised discussions on American and French perspectives on painting, forming part of the exhibition As Painting, at the Wexner Center for the Arts in 2001.
Bonnefoi has organized his work in long series, developing them around his ongoing Babel series, which he started in 1978. To dismantle the unity of the surface, the artist engages in a set of operations that consider the temporal effects of the collage (doubling, drying time, repetition of steps) and assume the three-dimensionality of the canvas, by rotating and displacing its standing point. Some works nominatively evoke such manipulations, such as Babel I “de la sphère 90°” and Babel I “180° “R” from 1978.
Through a system of fragmentary application, Bonnefoi covers a flat surface with pigment, draws black lines with graphite, masks the translucent tarlatan with glue, peels it off, turns it around and rotates it, and then starts the process all over again. With a minimum of resources, the parallel series Janapa and Hypérion disrupt the visual order of the surface, in a process informed by the constructivist research of El Lissitsky and László Moholy-Nagy.
In Bonnefoi’s paintings, transparency is not merely a recurring formal element but the organizing principle of his work. In his interweavings, cuts and divisions the terms of his practice are also rendered transparent, allowing the viewer to take part in an infinite interplay between what is visible and what is concealed.
It is in the relationship between front (devant) and back (dos) where Bonnefoi finds the possibility of escaping the surface and entering into the strategy of the plane. In his 1992 essay The Pin, Yve-Alain Bois finds the focus of Bonnefoi’s pictorial energy in the pin, an element that divides the surface on the basis of its thickness, its material depth, involving a lamellar stratification. By producing a surface of veils, interstices and thickness, Bonnefoi’s paintings go towards the surface.
Christian Bonnefoi’s work is part of the permanent collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris;; Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris;; Musée régional d’art contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon;; FRAC Paris;; FRAC Picardie;; FRAC Centre;; FRAC Bretagne;; Tourcoing Fine Arts Museum;; Morlaix Fine Arts Museum;; Orléans Fine Arts Museum;; Montbéliard Fine Arts Museum;; Sens Fine Arts Museum;; Guangzhou Museum of Fine Arts, China. In 2008, Bonnefoi had a retrospective at Centre Pompidou, Paris with an accompanying catalogue. Past solo exhibitions include Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nice (2013);; Guangzhou Museum of Fine Arts, China (2000), Rothschild Foundation, Paris (1989), Museum of
Nuremberg, Germany (1981);; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre, New York (1980).
2 - 19 May 2016
Westreich / Wagner, NY