Galerie Max Hetzler, Paris is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings and drawings by Yves Oppenheim.

Unpredictable, Yves Oppenheim often plays with the effects of repetition and variations of a formal abstract language, creating intricate pictorial spaces and elaborate chromatic harmonies. In his large scaled computer-generated canvases, coloured shapes, clearly outlined, as if cut out, layer and intertwine on the surface. The alternation between transparent and opaque textures leads to expressive optical illusions with infinite possibilities, encouraging the viewer to take a deeper look at the artwork as well as to spend more time with it.

“My work primarily concerns the action of colour on mind and conscientiousness. There is a logic of coloured sensation. It starts from a point on the picture, a point to which one holds fast; thence one follows the pathway of the colour, which meets other colours, passing above or below them (or through shadow), and being gradually transformed. (…)

Very often black and white are present by way of reference. The picture is composed of several dozen of different colours that attain life and autonomy. (…)

In every case, the light comes from the depths. There is a layering of coloured surfaces that creates the structure, which is an immense space. It is like walking in a jungle: you have to part the branches and lianas to see the light behind them. By creating space, the eye circulates in colour.” (Yves Oppenheim, in Remember Everything, 2013)

Yves Oppenheim’s works evoke Matisse’s collages as well as American painting from the 1950s and 1960s (Frank Stella, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman...). Eschewing art as a process, Oppenheim cultivates a sensitive and liberated approach, a poetic quest, attempting to distance himself from gesture and material, both having been favoured for so long.

Alongside his paintings, which he executes at a slow pace, Yves Oppenheim pursues a more spontaneous approach in his works on paper. The ink drawing series on view provides a counterpoint to the canvases. Gestures free themselves, whereas forms become more organic and evocative, some figurative components even crystalizing in the tangled lines.

“These are drawings of sensations, materials, and forms and thus allow the work to be connected to a reality, to an instant of thought. Drawings are related to the pleasure of unconstrained freedom. I see them as objects of reverie and indefinite spaces.” states Oppenheim, “It is connected to deep memory. I like the way this works on several levels and seek to avoid creating works that reveal themselves at first glance. I layer sensation and other qualities such that the spectator can explore in depth like an archaeologist, reconstituting and appropriating the original thought.” (op. cit.)

Yves Oppenheim, born 1948 in Tananarive, Madagascar, has been living and working in Berlin since the early 2000’s. His past exhibitions include Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon (2014, 2009 and 2005), Charim Galerie, Vienna (2014 and 2005), Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin (2009 and 2005), Galerie Xippas, Geneva (2012), Athens (2010 and 2007), Paris (2006), and Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels (2005).

Paintings of his are part if the collection of public institutions such as the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Carré d’Art Nîmes.