Daniel Lefcourt
Tête
21 October – 18 December 2015
Campoli Presti, Paris

Campoli Presti is pleased to present Tête, Daniel Lefcourt’s seventh exhibition with the gallery, and the first exhibition of his green Cast paintings in France. These are the final two paintings from the Cast series, a major body of work that began in 2013. Throughout his career, Lefcourt has continually engaged the space between painting and technical imaging. By using scientific, commercial, and military technologies to create his work, Lefcourt draws painting into the broader conflicts and politics of representation.

To create the Cast paintings, Lefcourt begins by using “remote sensing” techniques. In the field of cartography, the term “remote sensing” refers to any technique used to measure spatial or dimensional information – aerial photography, photoclinometry, laser and structured light scanning, are all ways of acquiring dimensional data without physically touching the object of study. Working on a small scale, Lefcourt creates an aleatory terrain using paint, pigment, water, canvas, and board, which he then photographs from multiple angles and elevations in order to generate a low relief terrain model in a 3D software environment.

This spatial data is then output as painting: First the terrain model is machine fabricated in foam as a relief mold, paint is then brushed in to the carved mold, and finally the dry paint is peeled up as a sculptural skin and adhered to canvas. The result is a series of paintings that play with perceptual paradoxes. The works engage us with their physical, corporeal, presence, yet simultaneously they appear to continually recede.

Alongside the Cast paintings is a new pair of drawings that conflate various historical methods of image production. Over the course of the past year Lefcourt has created a large set of rubber stamps using a laser engraver – all the imagery relating to the paintings, and to the production of technical images in general. For Lefcourt, the collection of stamps is a kind of historical database – each image stored in rubber hardware. This database can be queried, returning the results by hand-printing each stamp individually, in varying tones and sequences.

While the drawings at first appear to be descriptive and “readable”, this apparent legibility is continually frustrated and postponed. Instead we are left with a rigorously abstract set of artworks. Ultimately, the “Query” drawings are a rebus, structured by rhythm, meter, and sequence.

The title of the exhibition is a reference to the French painter Jean Fautrier, specifically his Otage series. Fautrier spent time during the war keeping a low profile in a sanatorium just south of Paris where he had a makeshift studio. It was here that Fautrier began his Otage series, which includes Tete d’Otage. The works were a response to events unfolding in the woods outside his studio where Nazi forces were torturing and killing prisoners. Never having viewed his subject directly, Fautrier’s painting process can be thought of as another type of “remote sensing”.

Daniel Lefcourt lives and works in New York. His work forms part of the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Lefcourt’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions including MoMA P.S.1; the Sculpture Center, Long Island City; ICA Philadelphia; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Malmö Konstmuseum and Kunst-Werke Berlin. In 2013 the Dia Art Foundation commissioned a web project by the artist. He received his MFA from Columbia University and is a member of the faculty of Rhode Island School of Design.