Nahmad Contemporary is pleased to announce Daniel Buren’s Origin of Stripes: Paintings from 1965-1966, an exhibition of ten early works by French artist Daniel Buren on view from Sept. 15 - Oct. 22, 2016. Presented together for the first time in the United States, these rare, formative paintings are revealed as the foundation of the artist’s iconic stripes.
Since the beginning of Buren’s radical 50-year career, he has challenged traditional notions about art and the institution. During the 1960s when painting was denounced in favor of conceptual art, the artist employed the contentious medium to develop his striped motif, which to this day serves as a “visual tool” to direct attention to an artwork’s physicality, surrounding context, and reception.
Foremost among the early works featured in the artist’s catalogue raisonné, the ten paintings selected for this exhibition illustrate the evolution of Buren’s signature pattern. In this collection of works, traces of the artist’s hand gradually dissipate, foreshadowing his renunciation of painting in its entirety. Buren’s linear motif first emerges as hand painted, multicolored, vertical bands that are partially obscured by amorphous, undulating layers of paint. Soon thereafter, the handmade stripes surrender to the standardized 8.7-centimeter wide, two-toned stripes of mass-produced textile, and the overpainted component condenses to narrow, meandering lines. In the exhibition’s final works, the presence of paint is isolated to the perimeter of the fabric as Buren embraces the pure homogeneity of the underlying, mechanically produced stripes.
Illuminated as a cornerstone in Buren’s artistic practice, this group of paintings captures a unique moment marked by the unification of a traditional medium with conceptual ambition. Shortly after he produced these works, the artist abandoned the canvas to explore his stripes in site-specific installations. The motif has since transformed a multitude of architectural monoliths—Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Grand Palais, Centre Pompidou and Palais-Royal, Paris—all the while maintaining its original function to draw attention to spatial and perceptual structures.
Daniel Buren (b. 1938, Paris; lives in Paris) is an internationally renowned artist known for his site-specific installations. Among his impressive resume of exhibitions are solo museum shows at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2002) and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York (2005). He was awarded the Golden Lion representing France at the 1986 Venice Biennale, in which he has subsequently participated over 10 times. His most recent site-specific exhibition, L’Observatoire de la lumière, travail in situ (The Observatory of Light, Work in Situ), is currently on view at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
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