Mirat Gallery opens a unique exhibition featuring international modern and contemporary artists exploring formal experiments with the object, the form and the colour in painting, sculpture and design. Running from the 21st of December until the 27th of February, the group show will present two interlocking lines of work: on the one hand, the suprematist rejection of practical utility following avant-garde painter Kasimir Malevich’s lead, and on the other, the playful embracement of the functional. Object – form – colour will show works from masters such as Malevich, Yves Klein, Sam Francis, Jason Martin, Victor Vasarely, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Yayoi Kusama, Franz West or Andy Warhol, and interrogate how these central concepts were creatively negotiated. While Malevich gave rise to a movement of formal reduction based on originality, Andy Warhol explored the implications of the infinite reproducibility of the ready-made. Today West’s colourful props continue to disarm the artworld. As an exhibition visitor you will wonder: is it a sculpture, an uncomfortable seating or an audacious joke? The confusion remains as we engage with the object, exploring its biomorphic shape, industrial texture and tacky tones.
At the eve of the XXth century, Malevich’s abstractions mark a radical rupture with mimesis. “I have conquered the lining of the coloured sky, I have plucked the colours, put them into the bag I have made, and tied it with a knot. Sail on! The white, free depths, eternity, is before you.” With this statement, Russian avant-garde painter Kazimir Malevich announces a century of experiments with the boundaries of our perception. All that remain in Suprematism (1927) are planes of colour, abstract spaceships detached from the canvas, weightlessly roaming towards a mysterious point of equilibrium. As Klein’s work would later make it clear, colour requires a non-rational perception. Designed one year prior to his death, Table bleu (1961) is one of Klein’s last creations and mirrors his very first monochrome: the sky, of which he would cheekily proclaim himself rightful owner. The user experiences the table’s horizontal surface as 3-dimensional space. Can Klein’s blue void absorb Warhol’s Brillo Box (1963)?
When form melts into the formless, the background acquires a new significance. This is nowhere more evident than in Sam Francis’ painting Untitled (1989). White surfaces are actively engaged in dialogue with colourful stains. A new sense of depth is created in this vivid desert, with no finite figures to direct us. More recently, British artist Jason Martin proposes a topography of paint in Cap (2008). Our gaze follows the undulations of the brush, the appearance and disappearance of matter, an exploration guided by the artist’s body. In Eternity (1984), George Condo’s internal space is desaturated, oriented towards an enigmatic bright hole. What tools can still be invented to represent what cannot be represented? Faced with raw openness, Japanese super-star artist Yayoi Kusama throws a net to catch it. The microscopic and macroscopic intermingle in abstract dots all over her pumpkins.
The artistic product becomes the starting point for a distinctive world to be imagined. What rules govern the new aesthetic systems that have come into existence? Whereas for Vasarely, “The Pope of optic art”, the gaze gives a concrete volume to geometrical patterns, Carlos Cruz-Diez deconstructs the volume to reveal colour as an autonomous, yet elusive, body. The spectator is Vasarely’s producer and in Paros (1952) and Cruz-Diez’ photosensitive object in Chromointerférence (2010). Showing a diverse array of works from the 20’s on, Object, Form, Colour will offer an opportunity to experience both the heterogeneity of modern and contemporary artists’ proposals and the common threads that can be drawn between them. This exhibition presents eleven artists’ critical interrogations of the object, the form and the colour, and invites us in their ground-breaking universes.