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CHEIM & READ: LE TABLEAU: Curated by Joe Fyfe - 24 June 2010 to 3 Sept 2010

Current Exhibition

24 June 2010 to 3 Sept 2010
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 6pm
547 West 25th Street
NY 10001
New York, NY
New York
North America
p: 212 242 7727
f: 212 242 7737

Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969)
Composition Abstraite 1960
Oil on canvas 18.11 x 14.96 in 46 x 38 cm
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Artists in this exhibition: Jean Fautrier, Hans Hartung, Serge Poliakoff. Claude Viallat, Miquel Mont, Bernard Piffaretti

Le Tableau: Curated by Joe Fyfe

Opening Thursday 24 June from 6 to 8 pm
Exhibition continues through 3 September 2010

Le Tableau places emphasis on the particular orientation towards painting practice by artists identified with France of the present time and the recent past and of selected western contemporaries. Organized as a pointed counterbalance to the rejection of French painting that has been due, primarily, to a misplaced sense of competitionóand in some cases, triumphalismóby the American artistic and critical establishment of the post-war years, this attitude has seemingly continued unexamined into contemporary art practices.

This appears particularly unfortunate in that French painting now seems timely: the notion of the "flatbed picture plane" has largely exhausted options left for abstraction. As a potential alternative, Le Tableau examines issues surrounding the paintings' physical facticity, of surface as a "thickness," and other complexities of painted two-dimensionality.

Le Tableau attempts to cover as wide an area of inquiry as possible, collecting works that have participated in an interrogative relationship with the painting as a form, figure or given substance, beginning with a painting by Jean Fautrier, many works refigure the viewer's orientation to the painted surface, including Hans Hartung and Serge Poliakoff. Others, such as Claude Viallat, subvert the painting through partial dismantling. Miquel Mont engages its overall structure as a matrix of power and knowledge, or it is perceptually thwarted, as in the paintings of Bernard Piffaretti.

As timelines move forward, recent American, British and continental painters with perceived affinities are included. Ultimately the definition of "Le Tableau" is as varied as the painters who practice it. Intellectual, critical, theoretical and political discourse is a continuous accompaniment of painting practice in France. The resolved painting, in all its complexity, remains a central concern, contrasting with Greenberg's dictums involving flatness, "purity", the American a priori reading of the painting as a tabula rasa or virginal plane as well as its critical marginalization by Minimalism, Pop and Conceptual art.

This negation of the authority of the painting as practiced in post-war Paris and into the present can be seen as reaffirming a haptic connection with the viewer. Jean Fautrier wrote, "in front of a painting that we like completely, there is a physical need as well as its fulfillment." Applied to painting, the French/continental definition of the surface of the painting is a transitional site, a retinal, conceptual, haptic, situation that the viewer moves through, the way the pedestrian moves into and through a building, for example.

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