From the beginning of the 20th century until now, repetition in art is possibly the most interesting method that many artists used to re-define the notion of tradition. Power of Repetition is not only a showcase of renowned artists who deliberately chose artistic or technical recurrence as the main subject of their work, but also really impacted Art History by arising issues of originality, authenticity and appropriation. Amongst them Olivier Mosset, Daniel Buren and Niele Toroni, founder of the BMPT group; Allan McCollum, Carl Andre, George Rickey, Stanley Whitney, Ron Gorchov, Peter Joseph, Alan Charlton and Yves Klein.
In 1967, Niele Toroni founded BMPT, coming from the first letter of its founders: Daniel Buren, Olivier Mosset, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni. The collective questioned notions of authorship highlighting an art piece as more important than its origin. In other words, they suppressed subjectivity and expressiveness in favour of practical systems, such as the utilization of neutral, repetitive patterns. Whether it is Buren’s stripes, Mosset’s circle or Toroni’s imprints of paintbrush, the exhibition explores the most important artworks of these three major artists in the field of repetition in art.
Around the same time, Carl Andre revolutionized sculpture by pioneering works that lie flat on the ground rather than rising up and occupying space. In fact, since 1966, Andre invites viewers to walk upon his sculptures so that they can sense not only the feeling of different materials (such as steel and aluminium) but also the distinction between standing in the middle of a sculpture and remaining outside of its boundaries. Using metal as the core of his work as well, George Rickey combined his love of engineering and mechanics by designing sculptures whose metal parts moved in response to the slightest air currents. He became a real master in abstract kinetic sculptures by ordering predictable movements as well as controlling both the speed and tempo of similar objects to respond more randomly. The exhibition will present Allan McCollum’s most iconic piece: Perfect Vehicles, first made in 1985. Sitting atop plinths, the standard mode for the display of sculpture, the groupings ranged from five to fifty generic cast-plaster vases. The shape of the vase was that of an antique Chinese ginger jar, a shape made ubiquitous by centuries of its reproduction. The Perfect Vehicles came in a range of colours and sizes, such that even though each vase was identical in shape, no two groupings were alike based on quantity and colour.
Recently, after years out of the spotlight, Ron Gorchov and Stanley Whitney’s work have, once again, began to attract public attention.
The American artist Ron Gorchov known for his richly coloured paintings on stretched linen over curved stretcher bars, achieves unique, concave surfaces reminding of Bronze Age shields or sarcophagus masks. Focusing on colours as well, Stanley Whitney has been exploring the formal possibilities of colour within ever- shifting grids of multi-hued blocks and gestural marks and passages. By repeating the process for many years, Stanley Whitney achieved his goal by making colour patterns dictate the structure.
Peter Joseph has, over the course of decades, dedicated his practice to seeking the potential in constraint. He rose to critical acclaim in the 1970s for his meditative, two-colour paintings, which set one rectangle within a frame of a darker shade. These early works are characterized by perfect symmetry, where every decision about colour and proportion can be seen to be redolent of time, mood or place. Rather than focusing on two-colour paintings, Alan Charlton paints grey monochrome paintings – which he has been doing since the early 1970s. Charlton’s works concentrate on physicality, uniformity and method inducing a profound sense of the painting as a spatial entity. In a similar, but also very different, monochromatic approach, the gallery will show one of the iconic Yves Klein IKB blue. For most of his life and career, Yves Klein focused on the luminosity and spirituality of his ultramarine pigment. Klein applied the International Klein Blue into a variety of mediums (canvases, sculptures, performances such as Anthropometry) and believed, more than anything, in the power of the colour as the main subject of its art.