Paint or How to Get Rid of It
Peinture Ou Comment S’en Débarrasser (Painting or How to Get Rid of It) is the French and Italian catalogue of the group exhibition under the same name, curated by Éric de Chassey at the French Academy in Rome, Villa Medici. The exhibition, whose title is inspired by Ionesco’s play Amédée or How to get rid of it, raises a question that haunts artists since the invention of abstraction in the early 20th century: the end of painting.
The exhibition shows three fascinating periods in the careers of four renowned artists: the Italian Fabio Mauri, the American Marcia Hafif, the French Martin Barré and the Swiss Olivier Mosset. With their works, they embody the developments surrounding the complex question regarding “the end of painting”. The logic of reducing painting to its strict primary components, which characterizes minimalism, began in the 1960s. This process of reducing something to its essential shape led artists on a quest to discover new forms. Between 1959 and 1969, their work explored everything from conceptual art to performance, before returning to the familiarity of painting.
In a career spanning five decades and a diversity of disciplines and mediums, ranging from fine arts, sculpture, performance, film, and installation, to theatre and theoretical writings, Fabio Mauri expressed through his art an unyielding critical exploration into the power of ideology and language associated with the Second World War, the rise of Fascism, and the Holocaust, and their lingering echoes in the modern world.
Marcia Hafif is a writer, photographer, painter, sculptor, installation artist and a celebrated pioneer of painting’s revival in the 1960s and 1970s. After graduating, Hafif moved to Rome, where she spent eight years producing work influenced by Pop Art and Hard Edge Abstraction. Upon returning to the United States in 1969, she shifted her focus, and began to explore the act of painting, questions of materiality, and perceptions of colour.
Martin Barré was a leading figure of post-war abstraction in France. Though he primarily considered himself a painter, Barré had a rich and varied career that also included photo conceptualism. His work explored the conventions of composition, often rebelling against classic pictorial order to present an early form of Minimalism.
Oliver Mosset first became known in France for having been part of the famous BMPT group alongside Daniel Buren, Niele Toroni and Michel Parmentier. Since then he has been associated with a multitude of art historical movements, involving himself in both the European and American artistic and critical contexts. In anticipation of many artists, who in the 1980s would use appropriation to critique Modernist authority, Mosset called into question the painter’s gesture and signature by sharing styles and dissolving authorship to reach a “degree zero” of painting.
Printed in Italy