Monday, July 06, 2015

Venice: Palazzo Grassi – Martial Raysse

Venice: Palazzo Grassi – Martial Raysse. The exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, Martial Raysse, until November 30, who is one of the most important living French painters and winner of the 2014 Praemium Imperiale. This is his first monographic exhibition outside of France since 1965 and it is the perfect opportunity to discover or rediscover his work and to explore the dedication and proximity between  the collector and the artist.
Above. America America – 1964.

Photograph by Matteo De fina – courtesy Palazzo Grassi

Martial Raysse and Caroline Bourgeois

Martial Raysse. The exhibition is curated by Caroline Bourgeois in close collaboration with the artist, it brings together more than 300 works from 1958 to the present day; paintings, sculptures, videos and neon works, almost half of which have never been shown to the public. The course of the exhibition, which is non-chronological, offers a new point of view on his work, by underlining, on the one hand, the multifaceted nature of his artistic production, and, on the other hand, the continuous dialogue and echo he has established among his works throughout his sixty years of career.

Martial Raysse. The painter emerged at the same time as major post-war American artists such as Warhol and Liechtenstein and he worked in Nice, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. Although one of the major artists of the second half of the 20th century, Raysse has only recently gained the same reputation as some of his more well-known ‘Pop Art’ contemporaries.
Above. Japan – 1964. Made in Japan – La Grande Odalisque – 1964. Portrait of an Ancient Friend – 1963. Proposition to Escape: Heart Garden – 1966.

Palazzo Grassi: Martial Raysse – The Ground Floor. “We wanted the exhibition to cover every aspect of Raysse’s artistic practice: from his small sculptures, which range from simple figures to games played with himself, through the drawings as works of preparation and his films that he uses to convey his libertarian ideas, to the pictures that compose his latest works. We have also punctuated the exhibition with works that are in a way self-portraits, reflecting the incredible demands the artist has made on himself and the loneliness he has had to endure in order to move forward in his art.” Bourgeois explains.
Above. The ground floor has ten display cases with ninety-five sculptures made between 1958 and 2014. Ailleurs – 1987.

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse. Photography for me played the role of a link that, in the beginning, took the form of stereotyped faces of young women in advertisements, leitmotifs of our visual culture. Through these faces, an initially experienced form of communication establishes itself beyond the preexisting formulas.” Martial Raysse. 
Above. Make Up - 1962.
Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse
La Belle Tarentaise - 1993

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse.  “In his history paintings, he offers to take a critical distance from what we may see or believe. He explores mythological subjects, as in L’Enfance de Bacchus or Le Jour des Roses sur le Toit, and uses them to speak of conspicuous consumption, of his distance from politics (Poisson d’Avril and Ici Plage, Comme Ici-Bas, below) or of his desire to laugh at the foibles of his time (Le Carnaval a Perigueux, above). Painter, sculptor, draftsman, but also poet and filmmaker: so many reductive terms with which to attempt to define this multifaceted and unclassifiable artist whose work spans the second half of the 20th century and continues, even today, to surprise us with its idiosyncrasy.” For Alain Jouffroy in 1996, Le Carnaval a Perigueux (1992) evoked “those twentieth-century painters who, with their violent irony, their violent severity, depicted 1920s Berlin as a society play-acting as it began to decompose, both mentally and politically.”
Above. Le Carnaval a Perigueux – 1992.
Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse. Raysse continued to innovate and incorporated neon in his paintings creating iconic works such as Nissa Bella in 1964 and then Peinture a Haute Tension, above in 1965. Raysse’s first foray into cinema is the painting Suzanna, Suzanna (1964), in which a video is included. After introducing film imagery into painting areas, the artist produced several whimsical, burlesque short films featuring several of his artist friends. He utterly unleashed his critical standpoint and penchant for experimenting in these films. Two-way exchanges between cinema and painting flourished, enriching both.
Above. Peinture a Haute Tension - 1965.

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse

Toi et Moi – 2009

 Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse. After 1962, images of glamorous women came to dominate Raysse’s work. Whether in the form of his unconventional, neon-hued canvases or in his early environmental installations, Raysse’s new pictorial love of women was neither a misogynist about-face nor a regression into representational art. His women are simultaneously the subjects of his (pictorial) desire and critical ciphers for his sociopolitical insights into the upheavals facing France. 
Above. Nu Jaune et Calme - 1963.

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse
Liberte Cherie – 1991 - detail

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse

Raysse Beach - 1962
Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse.  Ici Plage, Comme Ici-Bas, created exactly fifty years later, (after Raysse Beach, 1962, above) is not an installation but a painting of unusual size, measuring 3 meters in height by 9 in width. Chronologically it is the last of a series of works of large format. The subject is identical to that of Raysse Beach but the atmosphere here is very different: the two works are separated by a huge gulf that is the results from a different way of thinking. In Ici Plage, Comme Ici-Bas the artist is not celebrating the apotheosis of a happy and optimistic society as he did in Raysse Beach. On the contrary, here the human figures painted in bright and acid colors seem to be dancing casually on the brink of the abyss. In this work we find all three of the traditional genres that Raysse has been practicing daily for at last thirty years: portrait, landscape and history painting. These different areas of his research come together in the large format, of extreme interest to the artist in so far as it can accommodate on the one hand grand narratives and on the other his love of detail, his fondness for a micro-painting strewn with small comic annotations and mysterious symbols.
Above. Ici Plage, Comme Ici-Bas – 2012.

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse

L’Archer - 1980


  Pin It