19 October - 25 November 2017

In the art world of the late 60s, everything was being called into question. The Americans launched minimalist art and the Italians came up with Arte Povera.

“The subject of painting is painting itself,” said Daniel Dezeuze, and it was based on this mantra that Pincemin, Viallat, Saytour, Dezeuze, Cane and others defined the Supports-Surfaces movement. Following its creation in 1970, the Supports/Surfaces group has been an informal but highly exacting gathering of artists who all emerged from the studios of the Beaux-Arts in Paris and partly in Nice. Only Pincemin came from the working world and never attended art school.

As it turned out, the group was short lived, and disagreements among the artists were rife. Several of them left the group in 1972 for ideological and political reasons, but the majority of its members continued to meet up at various exhibitions. Nevertheless, the brief existence of the group should not mask the extraordinary modernity of its members, or the formidable injection of energy it gave the contemporary art world.

Influenced by New Realism, the young artists invented a host of ways to develop their art through the use of recycled materials. Their redefined world gave rise to original perceptions and unexpected messages. Free canvas, folding, braiding, tarpaulin, various fabrics, knotted rope – the material itself becomes the creative gesture, and the finished work is secondary.

Despite its relatively late arrival on the scene, Supports-Surfaces represents the last French avant-garde movement in the history of modernity. Of the four artists whose work is exhibited here, only the youngest – Jean-Pierre Pincemin – born in 1944, is no longer with us. The three others, still full of youth, would like to imagine a dialogue of four voices, indeed of eight hands. We have imagined this dialogue for you.

Installation views