Galería Mascota is pleased to present Supports/Surfaces a group exhibition thatseeks to shed light on the eponymous, little explored French art movement of the late 60’s and 70’s. The movement’s founding members constituted an intimate group of provincial artists, hailing mostly from the southern cities of Marseille and Montpellier, working away from the French capital. In light of the historical student uprisings of May 1968, the group sought to move away from the perceived overly-theoretical characteristics pervasive in the work of such Parisian counterparts as Daniel Buren.
Indeed, through an unwritten doctrine of stylistic rebellion, the artists sought to lay bare the process of making art through mainly primitive and highly
accessible materials such as ink, gauze, bed sheets and plain wood. Intentionally produced as a form of civil Socialist protest during a time of
significant youthful turbulence globally. Supports/Surfaces uses everyday
found objects for the work’s production, highlighting a unique deconstructionist quality. The works hold a complexity that is not immediately apparent but accordingly satisfactory once grasped, as these initially static works come to life.
It is important to note the theoretical, temporal and practical similarities that
the movement shares with Arte Povera. It would be hard to find any other continental European movement born of such a similar distaste for the establishment, artistically and politically, of the time. It can only be
hypothesised that a consistent lack of backing, institutional or otherwise, has
kept Support/Surfaces and its members in the relative shadows, as Galería
Mascota presents the movement’s first-ever Latin American show.
Although not abnormal in its use of materials which can be compared to that of Arte Povera, Supports/Surfaces functions as a movement of rupture. This remains exceptional thanks to the acknowledgement of the more traditional medium of painting, helping take the work it to its most impactful. As Claude Viallat, a central founder of the movement, concedes: ¨Dezeuze painted
stretchers without fabric, I painted fabric without stretchers and Saytour
painted the image of the stretcher on the fabric¨.
André-Pierre Arnal (b. 1931) has investigated unstretched canvas with determination. Thus we are tempted to compare his work to Claude Viallat and particularly Patrick Saytour, who also takes full advantage of the liberating aspect inherent in folded canvas. in his first Supports/Surfaces works, Arnal deployed regular and repeated folds in order to structure each painting while leaving the greater portion of its surfaces untreated. Later he treated the canvas by blotting it with successive layers of color which diffused throughout and left the surface to become a sort of palimpsest of itself
Louis Cane (b. 1943) began by ravaging the picture, destroying the stretcher and lacerating the canvas to arrive at the Sol/Mur series. Then the ogre began devouring the Old Masters by thrashing all the various styles, from baroque to japonisme via expressionism and Pop. Even the giant that was Picasso never dared embark on such disturbing subjects as the "women playing at doctor", and nor look squarely at the terrors of childbirth. As Louis Cane declares: "to paint these pictures, you need a great deal of maturity and be in excellent mental health".
Marc Devade (b. 1943) was a member and founder of the french movement Supports/Surfaces and was also a part of the editing department of the magazine Tel Quel, as well a founder of another arts magazine PEINTURE, cahiers théoriques. He has left behind a strong legacy from his 15 years of work.
Noël Dolla (b. 1945) is trying to answer the question of painting and especially to the abstract painting. He moves continually his work in the fields of investigation that allow him to explore the pictorial practice to its limits. Dolla enjoys what he calls his "spare part", he uses modest and familiar objects which are those of everyday life. This vocabulary in place since the end of 60 years allows him to occupy the paint exploring its topical.
Jean-Michel Meurice (b. 1938) As a student of the Art School of Tournai in 1957, he meets Pierre and Colette Soulages in the sixties and exhibits at the gallery Jean Fournier in 1966. At the same time, he starts up a filmmaker work by a series of artists' portraits (Bram Van Velde, Sonia Delaunay, Alberto Burri…). Four of his Penelopes are in the Musée d'Art Moderne's collections and in 1987, he was assigned the realization of a ceiling in the Picasso museum of Antibes. He received the National Grand Prix in 1992 for his whole work. His pieces are exhibited all around the world (Tokyo, Beijing, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Paris, etc.)
Bernard Pagés (b. 1940) is a French contemporary sculptor born in Cahors in the Lot in 1940. He participated by chance Supports/Surfaces. Bernard Pagès arrived in 1959 to Paris. It's to the Workshop of Sacred Art that he becomes aware of the accessibility of the sculpture. In 1967, the artist abandons the painting and the traditional sculpture after an exhibition of the New Realists in Nice.
Patrick Saytour (b. 1935) has always been marginal, even on the periphery; his stance remains critical, and ironic with regard to a group whose political positions he has had no truck with. His work can be defined as a deconstruction of form, of the format of the framework of presentation, even of colour as it is sublimated in modernist art. This encouraged him to express a sort of "theatralized" but plastically strong parody of painting. His mise-en-scene exploits an impoverished vocabulary: systematic folding and unfolding, burning, sopping, solarisation, etc. He always uses plebeian or kitsch materials. Subsequently he created assemblages of objects from junk shops; and more recently large scale collages of cheap linoleum and other floor coverings with vulgar motifs to make sumptuous paintings.
Claude Viallat (b. 1936) studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier from 1955 to 1959, then at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1962-63, in Raymond Legueult's workshop. In 1966, he adopts a process based on fingerprints, which shall enter into a critical radical of the lyrical abstraction and geometric (in technique called All-over). A neutral form is repeated on a free canvas without frame determining the composition of the work. In 1970, he was a founding member of Supports / Surfaces.