Cherry and Martin presents the first United States solo exhibition in ten years by one of the most important contemporary French painters, Bernard Piffaretti, as curated in conversation with Matt Connors.
For more than 30 years Piffaretti has expressed the virtues and contradictions of painting, pairing codes of modern abstraction with a strict conceptual methodology. By vertically dividing the canvas into two equal halves creating the right-side as the original and the left-side its copy, Piffaretti has shaped his oeuvre into a multi-perplexing paradox that runs the gamut of painting’s canon while forming the quintessential Duchampian question to the audience.
The rigor and restraints of Bernard Piffaretti’s practice is riddled with the interruption, or pause, from its initiating mark—the formal constant of the painted-vertical line—that equally connects and separates the whole of the canvas. The paintings’ conception prompts a metaphorical plurality to the viewer on the creation of the pictorial image, the role of thinking in form, and the questions of negation and reaffirmation of the act of painting through the systematic role of copying to once more reveal what was already known. Unlike many of his contemporaries relying on the power of the mechanical reproductive image, and the objective truth as presented in the photograph, Piffaretti posits himself into the endless variation of form as a traditional painter, acknowledging his strong conceptual threading, the thoughts within his paintings, and their relationship to space and time bearing the weight of the artist’s infinite dualities.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a catalogue of Bernard Piffaretti’s work along with a text documenting the discourse between Bernard Piffaretti, in Paris, and Matt Connors, in New York. Their conversation, as conducted through email and in-person meetings, demonstrates the ebbs and flows of both the artists’ painting practice, their relationship to time and space, and the multifaceted questions that engage them in their acts of creation.
“My painting is built around a great paradox: To deny in order to better assert. My painting thinks and puts its thinking on display. It will unfold and thus deny its essential issues and underlying basis: chronology, origin, ending, incompleteness, series, montage, reproduction, etc… “ (Bernard Piffaretti in conversation with Matt Connors)
Bernard Piffaretti has been the subject of solo museum exhibitions at the Musée d’ Art Moderne (2009, Saint-Etienne, France); Mamco (2007, Geneva, Switzerland); Beaumont Public Gallery (2006, Luxembourg, Germany); Sara Hilden Art Museum (2001, Tampere, Switzerland); Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art (2000, Paris, France); and Villa Arson (1991, Nice, France). Piffaretti has been featured in museum group exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, France); Hong Kong Museum; CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art (Bordeaux, France); Joan Miro Foundation (Barcelona, Spain); National Gallery of the Grand Palais (Paris, France); and Switzerland Museum of Fine Arts (Bern, Switzerland). Piffaretti was born in 1955 in Saint-Etienne, France; he currently lives and works in Paris, France.
(Cherry and Martin archive)
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