Exhibitions


Artgenève 2020, Genève (CH)   30 January 2020 - 2 February 2020

Supports/Surfaces

Following on from the innovative presentation and juxtaposition of works from its four collections for last year’s event, the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art returns to artgenève in 2020 with a display focusing on artists of the Supports/Surfaces group, regarded as the last avant-garde movement. Structured around iconic pieces from the 1960s and 1970s, it shows how these artists brought painting and the artwork itself into question.

CURATOR : Yan Schubert

The display at artgenève revisits the work of these artists and the way in which they rethought both painting and their own practices. It proposes an overview of their artworks from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s and offers an interesting perspective on this pivotal period, seen as a key turning point in the history of contemporary art.

In making the radical deconstruction of the painting central to their work and ways of thinking, the Supports/Surfaces artists questioned its materiality and reconsidered its form, composition, format and how it fits into real space. They not only re-examined the painting’s surface and medium but also its specific character and the potential for its serial production. They removed the canvas from its stretcher and broke away from the painting’s traditional function as a screen-like surface by drastically reducing its constituent elements, to the extent of partially eliminating them. The canvas was then free to be manipulated, folded, crumpled up, stretched or hung loosely.

Tireless experimenters, the group’s members sought to diversify mediums and readily made use of commonplace materials. When working with colour, they gave it no symbolic value and liberated it from its infilling function. Often applied in very diluted form to unprimed canvas, it reveals gestures, imprints, how folds were worked and where the colouring matter has seeped into the medium’s fibres.

The free canvas, rejection of brushwork and simplicity of composition schemes all define the creations of the Supports/Surfaces artists. Yet the sound theoretical system underlying their work has sometimes diverted attention from the artworks’ visual qualities that this display now aims to spotlight.

Vincent Bioulès questions the painting’s composition and materiality and Louis Cane its form and format. Marc Devade brings the stretcher to the forefront, while Daniel Dezeuze cuts the canvas and Noël Dolla makes it very narrow and rolls it up. Bernard Pagès highlights the tensions between nature and the artefact, whereas Patrick Saytour works with simple raw materials. André Valensi stitches together cut pieces of fabric, while Claude Viallat paints his unstretched canvases or leaves them to deteriorate under the combined effect of sun and rain.

Though some have wished to see Supports/Surfaces as the last avant-garde movement, it remains above all a group founded on ties of friendship stretching from Paris to Montpellier and Nice. Successive theoretical and ideological divergences did however lead to the collective’s rapid dissolution.

This presentation goes beyond the strict chronology of the group, only reunited for a few exhibitions at the turn of the 1970s. It returns to the mature period of these artists in the late 1960s, before the official creation of the movement in August 1971. Though far from being an historical account, it yet encapsulates this period’s effervescence.

Palexpo Genève
Route François-Peyrot 30, 1218 le Grand-Saconnex
du 29 janvier au 2 février 2020

Works on loan

Vincent BIOULÈS
Peinture
1970
Louis CANE
Toile Sol/Mur
1974
Marc DEVADE
Sans titre
1976
Marc DEVADE
Sans titre
Février 1978
Daniel DEZEUZE
Toile ajourée
1967
Bernard PAGÈS
Quatre assemblages angulaires
1971-1972
Bernard PAGÈS
L'Étendoir
1968
Patrick SAYTOUR
Tension
1970
Noël DOLLA
Tarlatane
10 septembre 1972
Bernard PAGÈS
Arrangement, branchage et bouteilles
Novembre 1968
Patrick SAYTOUR
Enrubanné
1968
André VALENSI
Peinture
1973
Claude VIALLAT
1968/025
1968