Pop-up exhibition by Bernard Piffaretti at Beijing's Blanc International Art Space
21 October 2021
From 23 October 2021 for a period of three months, a number of international contemporary art galleries will present pop-up exhibitions at the new Blanc International Contemporary Art Space in Beijing, China. Alongside 13 galleries, Lisson presents a solo exhibition by painter Bernard Piffaretti.
Following his China debut at Lisson Gallery Shanghai this March, the French artist is returning to China with his first solo exhibition in Beijing. This pop-up exhibition presents 13 works by Piffaretti including his recent paintings and a selection of earlier work, all composed using his signature duplication method, the “Piffaretti system”, with which the artist has worked for nearly four decades. The presentation offers an opportunity for engagement with Piffaretti’s work for audiences in Beijing.
Piffaretti has focused on the same technique since he first adopted it in the 1980s, whereby each painting is divided by “the central mark”. The works featured in this exhibition, created in the last 30 years, demonstrate the artist’s signature motif with an abstract gestural mark on the one side and recreation of the image opposite. Under the higher law of repetition governing Piffaretti’s entire oeuvre, dividing a single canvas into two identical halves allows the artist to incorporate different compositions. However, he believes there is no perfect copy – it is the play of differences within any notion of identity that makes the illusion of the split between pure original and perfect copy possible in the first place.
“This central marking, this line that has neither a beginning nor an end, is a way to illustrate all the questions around painting,” the artist said. From the start of his career, Piffaretti has been aiming to prove that his painting has a ‘metapictorial’ status that takes the questions of painting into consideration: the origin of the picture, its chronology, its evolution and its succession, as well as taking the idea of painting as an experiment by focusing immediately on practical concerns such as colour and formal typologies.
Piffaretti seeks to be a part of a renewal of history rather than a repetition of a history that had already occurred. His practice appears to be resistant to an analysis based on the identification of art historical trends and period styles. From this exhibition, audiences are provided with a chance to witness art history being refreshed while being asked to consider how one should look at paintings as they engage in an immediate experience of shape, colour and movement.
The exhibition is curated by art historian, writer, and visiting lecturer of China Academy of Art, Zhang Yuling.