Luxembourg & Dayan Present THICK PAINT, 2/28-4/19

Beginning February 28, 2014, Luxembourg & Dayan will presentTHICK PAINT, an exhibition of works by Jean Fautrier (1898-1964), Franz West (1947-2012), and Zhu Jinshi (b. 1954). Representing dramatically different cultural contexts, generations and formal approaches to the making of art, all three artists are nevertheless united by a preoccupation with the spatial possibilities of impasto and the psychological charge that profoundly heavy, troweled, shoveled and carved pigment can generate. With the exhibition THICK PAINT, Luxembourg & Dayan will bridge distinct post-war aesthetics and conceptual ruptures, from the French Art Informel to the emergence of Chinese avant-garde, through works that oscillate between painting and sculpture, and suggest fresh artistic territory that defies both categories.

THICK PAINT will remain on view through April 19, 2014.

At the heart of the exhibition are works by French painter, illustrator, printmaker and sculptor Jean Fautrier. Fautrier's paintings from the late 1920's, represented in the exhibition by Mort du Sanglier (1927), anticipate his later groundbreaking investigations into modeling and sculpting

the painterly surface. Fautrier applied oil paint to canvases that had been covered in a layer of papier ma?che?, creating dry fresco-like surfaces into which he then incised or scored his imagery. By cutting into the painted surface, the artist empowered blank canvas to define the parameters of his still lifes. Fautrier's later, somber Otage paintings (1942-45) capture the sensation of extreme physical suffering. In these works, representation breaks down as if registering the traumatic disintegration of society's structure in the aftermath of World War II. It was through his application of thick paint in haphazard gestures - marks that the art historian Benjamin Buchloch described as "unconscious deposits" -- that Fautrier was able to "drain the painterly mark and substance of all residues of mimetic life."

By the 1950's, Fautrier had fully developed his painterly process of Haute Pa?te("high paste"), using concoctions of paint, plaster, gesso, ink, and paper to extend conventional painting into a more purely abstract realm. In these works, tensions between surface and texture, methodical construction and all-out assault, are emblematic of European post-war abstraction and the movement of Art Informel, whose other practitioners included Jean Dubuffet and Alberto Burri.

THICK PAINT layers the work of Austrian artist Franz West onto that of Fautrier. Deliberately eschewing the conceptual and performative provocations of his contemporaries in the Vienna Actionist group, West concentrated on reimagining the depth of painterly surfaces in the form of three-dimensional structures. His early works were primarily focused upon a process that involved the application of paint to collages composed of magazine cut-outs, a process that eventually led to the artist's mature, sculptural pa?pier mache? creations and his engagement of




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by Barry Kostrinsky