At CANADA, New York, until the 20th of July, an exhibition surveying the ‘under-recognised French art-movement’ Supports / Surfaces. Artist shown: André-Pierre Arnal, Pierre Buraglio, Louis Cane, Mark Devade, Daniel Dezeuze, Noël Dolla, Jean-Michel Meurice, Bernard Pagés, Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Patrick Saytour, Claude Viallat.
As the press-release has it:
‘Supports/Surfaces was a loose confederation of about 15 artists mostly from the south of France (Nimes, St. Etienne, Nice, Etc.) who made work marked by an interest in materiality, expansive ideas of what a painting could be and often a lyrical use of bright color. There is no manifesto, but the writings and ideas of Freud, Marx, Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried and Chairman Mao were tossed together along with a deep interest in Matisse, another artist associated with the south of France.
French society in the 1960’s was undergoing upheavals and social protests that mirrored the struggle for civil rights and anti-war movements in the USA. Many of the artists involved with Supports/Surfaces were veterans of the war in Algeria, and as young artists and citizens they were looking for alternatives to the colonial war machines that seemed to be the norm in western society. They made art without slick fabrication, organized on loose permeable grid structures; which implied a canvas and utilized repeating forms and/or patterning which seemed to offer a humane possibility for both art making, and a metaphorical proposal for just society.’
Beyond simply the pleasure of their loosely assembled, enjoyably simple images, I thought the exhibition worth posting because the group – particularly Claude Viallat and Jean-Pierre Pincemin – are mentioned by Sabrine Tess in the interview we have posted today. Their work has obvious parallels with much that came out of the sixties in Britain (Jeremy Moon and Stephen Buckley come to mind); also with some younger artists shown on abstract critical – Dan Sturgis, Sophia Starling or Dominic Beattie.