untitled

4th quarter 20th centuryAcrylic on toile de bâcheH x L : 140 x 235 cm

This work painted on rough canvas is by French artist Claude Viallat, one of the founders of Support-Surface, a movement that calls into question the traditional supports of painting.

Around 1966, young artists, most of them from the south of France, began questioning the purpose of painting. Their aim was a deconstruction of the canvas and its stretcher, playing with the limits of the image as an illusion. In an effort to return to the origins of painting, they advocated that a painting should no longer represent more than its own materiality. In other words, the canvas is freed from its stretcher and the pigment from the form. Using a variety of materials (fine, sometimes satiny fabrics, hessians and military tarpaulins etc.) in untraditional ways (folding, crumpling, winding and collage among others), these artists employ different techniques (stamp, stencil, soaking, burning) in their creations.

The exhibition entitled “Support-Surface” held at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris in 1970 established the movement. It is well represented at the MNHA, with two works by Claude Viallat (including a monumental 300 x 590 cm), four works by Patrick Saytour (1935-) and one by Louis Cane (1943-).

Born in Nîmes in 1936, Viallat trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier and in Paris. In his early days, he developed an interest in the major genres of painting, then gradually breaking away from them and creating his own formal system. The Algerian war was an important moment in his life. It was at this time that he started experimenting with impoverished materials, followed by the abandonment of figuration. In 1966, he invented a neutral shape akin to a palette, a bean or a knucklebone, a motif he has since repeated endlessly on different supports. Since the early 1980s, he has painted this motif with a brush, emphasizing it with black or white on a background saturated with colours, as seen in the work at the MNHA.

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