Christian Bonnefoi - Viewing Room

Christian Bonnefoi

08 April - 07 May 2022

Campoli Presti is pleased to present Christian Bonnefoi's fourth exhibition with the gallery.

Over the past 40 years, Christian Bonnefoi has fundamentally contributed to the discussion around painting and its constitutive structure, considering it as an object in its own right. 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. His work has been later contextualized within revised discussions on American and French perspectives on painting, forming part of the seminal exhibition As Painting at the Wexner Center for the Arts in 2001, alongside artists such as Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter and Robert Ryman.

Christian Bonnefoi - Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

Christian Bonnefoi

Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

This new exhibition presents works from the series Babel, the vertical thread of Christian Bonnefoi's expanding work. Started in 1978, it evokes the image of a labyrinthic tower, growing vertically as division and movement reigns on the inside. Taking the canvas as a three-dimensional object, Bonnefoi sets a series of operations that aim to dismantle the unity of the plane.

Babel III (1979) uses tarlatan, white paint and graphite to achieve transparency and reveal the processes behind its making: rotation, drying time, and a continuous repetition of steps.

Babel III, 1979

Babel III, 1979

Acrylic and graphite on tarlatan canvas

195 x 130 cm / 76.77 x 51.18 inches

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"My work develops more in the form of a constellation than in a linear form. It is a work that is never finished, but always open."

Christian Bonnefoi

La Falaise de Gosana (Babel VI), 1988

La Falaise de Gosana (Babel VI), 1988

Acrylic and chalk on canvas

200 x 360 cm / 78.74 x 141.73 inches

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La Falaise de Gosana (Babel VI) (1988) which was part of Bonnefoi's large retrospective at Centre Pompidou in 2008, presents an image and its double, a drawing and the powder of the drawing, opposing visibility and reflectiveness.

Christian Bonnefoi - Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

Christian Bonnefoi

Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

Untitled (Babel VII), 1989-1990

Untitled (Babel VII), 1989-1990

Acrylic and pastel on canvas

196 x 130 cm / 77.2 x 51.2 inches

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In his more recent paintings from the series, Bonnefoi explores further manipulations of the tarlatan, a sheer, open-weaved fabric applied in varying volumes, allowing the surface to reveal different levels of visibility.

Christian Bonnefoi - Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

Christian Bonnefoi

Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

The use of tarlatan, associated with glue, makes visible here the in-between of the support and the surface. It brings together the data that allows, in the artist's words, "the division of the division", i.e. the division of the plane into thickness. For each Babel, Bonnefoi puts himself in the position of not being able to completely direct the image he is going to produce. This "shedding of visual control" is fundamental to his practice, for what becomes a figure must not be the direct trace of the painter's gesture.

Extract from the catalogue Collection art contemporain - La collection du Centre Pompidou, 2007

Babel 24-R, 2016-2017

Babel 24-R, 2016-2017

Acrylic, graphite and glue on tarlatan

194.8 x 129.8 cm / 76.7 x 51.1 inches

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Babel 24-R, detail

The ground floor of the gallery presents recent works from the artist's “Dos” (Back) series which emerged from Matisse’s bas-relief sculptures of the same name. The shape of the back nude is however secondary to what Bonnefoi places in the process of reversing, converting and transferring positions and materials. It is not a question of going back to figuration but of using a particular image that proves the migration of pictorial elements, their ability to combine and divide themselves.

Métropolite, 2021-2022

Métropolite, 2021-2022

Acrylic on tissue paper

240 x 140 cm / 94.48 x 55.11 inches

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Christian Bonnefoi / Vue d'exposition : 8 avril - 7 mai 2022 chez Campoli Presti Paris

The use of transparent and porous materials such as tissue paper registers each step of the process, from the application of glue to the juxtaposition of layers, turning the work into a double-sided body.

Christian Bonnefoi - Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

Christian Bonnefoi

Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

Les Gardiens de Lascaux, 2021-2022

Les Gardiens de Lascaux, 2021-2022

Acrylic on tissue paper

240 x 140 cm / 94.48 x 55.11 inches

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156, 2020

156, 2020

Acrylic on tissue paper (monotype)

37 x 27.5 cm / 14.56 x 10.86 inches

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Christian Bonnefoi - Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

Christian Bonnefoi

Installation view : 8 April - 7 May 2022 at Campoli Presti Paris

72, 2021

72, 2021

Acrylic on tissue paper (monotype)

33 x 27 cm / 12.99 x 12. 62 inches

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306, 2020

306, 2020

Acrylic on tissue paper (monotype)

35 x 29 cm / 13.77 x 11.41 inches

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Christian Bonnefoi (1948) lives and works between Paris and Changy. In 2008, he had a retrospective at Centre Pompidou, Paris, with an accompanying catalogue. More recently, Christian Bonnefoi had a solo exhibition in 2020 at Centre d'Art Contemporain Bouvet Ladubay in Saumur, France.

Past solo exhibitions include Campoli Presti, London (2019) and Paris (2017); Jean-Paul Najar Foundation for Contemporary Art, Dubai (2016); Campoli Presti & Westreich/Wagner, New York (2016); 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).

Christian Bonnefoi in the atelier

Please note that the availability of the works might be subject to change without prior notice. For enquiries please contact cora@campolipresti.com