The first New York exhibition in over a decade of the French conceptual painter Bernard Frize, known for his brightly colored paintings made by inventing rules or structures that remove choice or expression and instead rely on material or external constraints.
Bernard Frize (b. 1954, Saint-Mandé, France) is a process-oriented painter whose work is often made according to systems, rules, and chance. Since the early 70s, he has painted according to a predetermined structure, allowing for each work to emerge through the implementation of a set of rules. Frize has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide, including the Gemeentemuseum, Netherlands; Villa Medici, Rome; Grey Art Gallery, New York; Kunsthalle, Zürich; the Ludwig Museum, Vienna; and the Stedelijk Museum, Ghent. He has been featured in important group exhibitions including the Sao Paolo Biennial (2012), Venice Biennale (1990, 2005), and Sydney Biennial (1998). Pace’s 2013 exhibition is the first solo show of Frize’s work in New York in over a decade.
32 East 57th Street, New York
February 1 – March 9, 2013
Pace is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by French painter Bernard Frize. Though Frize’s work has been widely exhibited throughout Europe, this is the artist’s first New York presentation in over a decade.
Bernard Frize: Winter Diary is on view at 32 East 57th Street, New York from February 1 through March 9, 2013, with an opening reception for the public on Thursday, January 31, 6 to 8 PM.
The exhibition features fifteen new paintings that continue Frize’s process-oriented practice of creating work according to systems, rules, and chance. For the paintings in Winter Diary, each large canvas is primed with a thick layer of resin, which creates a smooth plastic surface onto which acrylic paint is applied. Over the past four decades, Frize has intentionally reduced his practice to the application of color to a canvas, developing a seemingly endless array of methods for making chromatically brilliant, abstract paintings. For each series, Frize devises an idea or rule that will generate a painting, allowing the final work to emerge through the implementation of a process. Once the plan is established, he executes it, sometimes in concert with assistants and often using specially-made tools, such as a paintbrush made out of many different-sized brushes tied together. In other works, Frize uses rollers to apply paint in carefully measured areas or works with absurdly large or small brushes.
Despite his interest in rules, Frize also allows for unexpected outcomes and chance to intrude. He embraces the effects of natural laws such as gravity, sometimes hanging paintings upside-down to dry, resulting in raised dots on the surface. Likewise, he often allows the physical properties of paint to dictate the outcome of a painting, frequently working “wet-on-wet,” which creates effects where different colors meet and blend, or allowing the length of a line to be decided by the amount of paint picked up by a brush.
Frize purposely avoids choosing colors for their specific associations or emotive properties, instead relying on chance—even painting while blindfolded in some cases—and seeking a level of neutrality in which no single color dominates his practice or becomes his signature. However, as Jens Hoffmann writes of Frize’s work, “A rainbow-like array is often the result of this process and, at the risk of irritating Frize, one might even say that this wide chromatic spectrum has become part of his signature, a ‘Friezean’ color combination rather than a particular monochromatic identification.” [I]
Inevitably, the viewer mentally reconstitutes how each painting was made, sometimes easily deducing the methods and other times reaching dead ends. “There is, in Frize, a sort of iconography of operations that allows one to retrace the istoria of a painting—and doing so is as crucial to understanding a Frize as identifying characters and scenes is to comprehending a classical painting,” [II] writes French art historian and critic Jean-Pierre Criqui. Whether made from order or chance, each painting is ultimately a record its own execution.
Bernard Frize was born in 1954 in Saint-Mandé, France. Frize has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide, including the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; Berlinische Galerie, Berlin; Gemeente Museum, the Hague, the Netherlands; S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen; Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Villa Medici, Rome; Kunsthalle, Zürich; and the Ludwig Museum, Vienna.. He has been featured in important group exhibitions including the Sao Paolo Biennial (2012), Venice Biennale (1990, 2005), and Sydney Biennial (1998). His work is represented in public collections around the world, including the Tate Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; MUMOK, Vienna; NMAO the National Museum of Art Osaka; Museo Nacional Centro de Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; the Kunstmuseum, Basel; and the Kunstmuseum, Zurich.
Frize lives and works in Paris and Berlin. Pace’s 2013 exhibition is the first solo show of Frize’s work in New York in over a decade.
For more information about Bernard Frize, please contact Pace’s public relations department at 212.421.8987. For general inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org; for reproduction requests, email email@example.com.
Image: Bernard Frize, Duettino, 2012. Acrylic and resin on canvas, 45-1/16" x 57-5/16".
[I] Jens Hoffmann, “Examining Pictures,” extracted from the catalogue Longues Lingnes (souvent fermées), 2007.
[II] Jean-Pierre Criqui, “Bernard Frize: Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Artforum, November 2003.