For its New Season Exhibition in Brussels, Galerie Daniel Templon is proud to present both recent and older artworks by Claude Viallat, an artist the gallery has been supporting for many years.
Born in 1936, Claude Viallat is one of the founders of the Supports/Surfaces avant-garde movement that emerged in the early 1970s. This ephemeral movement questions the traditional elements of painting. Figures in the movement included Vincent Bioulès, Louis Cane, Daniel Dezeuze, Jean-Pierre Pincemin and Noël Dolla. They formed a group that propounded both art theory and politics. They called for a fresh approach to art that challenged the traditional materials used for painting, the canvas and the stretcher. Viallat began to work on industrial tarpaulins without stretchers, covering them with the same endlessly repeated abstract shape. This “shape”, which can call to mind different images such as a knuckle or a hand eventually became his signature motif. Reproduced using a stencil, in a variety of colours and on different surfaces (upholstery fabrics, rugs, recycled materials), this motif eradicates the notion of “subject” and enables Claude Viallat to explore the meaning of the creative gesture and the status of the “work of art”.
Today, Claude Viallat is an artist who cannot be ignored. His approach is particularly topical given the development of the young American scene that reworks this heritage: “poor” materials; repetition; error as operating principle; thought about the surface etc. With the attention that is being paid to this new generation of American abstract painters (Wade Guyton, Jacob Kassay, Israël Lund, Ethan Cook…), Viallat's work must be rediscovered and reviewed – even more so considering the recent return to Arts & Crafts, tapestry and the vernacular in French and international contemporary art.
Claude Viallat is one of the leading figures in French painting. He represented France at the Venice Biennale in 1988. His work is included in numerous public collections, including at the Musée National d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Centre Georges-Pompidou in Paris, MOMA in New York, Musée des Beaux Arts in Montréal and National Museum of Art in Osaka. The Musée Fabre in Montpellier will be holding a major retrospective of his work in summer 2014.