Bertrand Lavier
Medley

Kewenig

April 28, 2014

Bertrand Lavier
Medley

May 2–July 19, 2014

Opening: May 2, 6–9pm
In the presence of the artist

Kewenig
Brüderstr. 10
D-10178 Berlin

gallery [​at​] kewenig.com

www.kewenig.com

Kewenig is pleased to announce its first solo exhibition with Bertrand Lavier (b. 1949, Châtillon-sur-Seine) in Berlin.

Bertrand Lavier is one of the most inventive and influential French artists of his generation. Since the 1970s he dealt conceptually with the notion of reality and its representations and later on broached the issue of the relationship between art and reality, investigating the mechanisms that can transform daily objects or borrowed elements from art history and pop culture into art. Lavier became well known for blurring the line between painting and sculpture by thickly coating everyday objects with acrylic paint and thus turning these still operational and clearly identifiable objects into artworks. His “objets paints” which he created since the 1980s are always Janus-faced—they refer both to the painted image of an object and to its real identity. They are an ongoing reflection of painting and short-circuit stereotypes in connection with painting. Similar to his assembled pieces, in which Lavier combines industrial objects like a fridge with a Ferrari into a new entity, he provokes questions about artistic creation and authorship.

Not formally trained in art, Lavier studied at the School of Horticulture in Versailles, where he discovered his interest in hybridization: “If you combine an orange with a mandarin, you get a tangerine. It’s really a fifty-fifty mix of the two fruits. When I paint a piano or put a fridge on a safe, the result seems to float between two separate things. Under the layers of paint is the real piano, but you can also concentrate on the paint as paint. One could say that my works are like tangerines.”

None of Lavier’s works, though, are regarded as finished. An exhibition is an opportunity for him to revive his concepts: “I make exhibitions—I don’t produce images, I don’t have a studio.” Rather than inventing objects he conceptually repositions them, giving them at the same time a rematerialization that distinguishes him from the classical Conceptualist approach of the dematerialization of objects.

The exhibition Medley brings together major new and historic pieces of his different strategies and systems of display. A grand piano is overpainted with brilliant black and white acrylic paint (Bechstein, 2013), ready to be played. A nickel-plated bronze cast of an Oceanic sculpture resembles both modern and primitive art, and is opposed to a mirror painted with transparent paint. The mirror creates both an artificial and artistic reflection and lets us think of the different levels of perception. Another room shows works of the series “Walt Disney Productions.” Lavier created the first pieces of this series in the 1980s after a cartoon from 1947, which told of Mickey and Minnie’s visit to a museum of modern art. He isolated the narrative’s paintings and sculptures and enlarged them to the presumed format. In doing so, he short-circuited the cycle of representation by making tangible what until then was merely decor and fiction. In the exaggeration of clichéd forms and colors one could immediately recognize the vocabulary of pictorial and sculptural modern art.

Bertrand Lavier lives and works in Paris and Aignay-le-Duc. His work has been exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Centre Pompidou (1991); the Castello di Rivoli in Turin (1996); the Musée National de la Ville de Paris (2005); the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1998); MoMA PS 1, New York (2000); the Mamco Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Geneva (2001); the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art in Prato (2007); the Villa Medici in Rome (2009), the Musée Hermès in Seoul (2010) and the Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne (2011). His work has been included in the dOCUMENTA (1982, 1987), and in the Venice Biennale (1976). The Centre Pompidou honored him with a retrospective show in 2012.