Art Of The Day Weekly
#482 - from 14 September 2017 to 20 September 2017
Paul Gauguin, Portrait of a Young Girl, Vaïte (Jeanne) Goupil, 1896, oil on canvas, 75 × 65 cm. Coll. Ordrupgaard, Copenhague © Ordrupgaard, Copenhague/Photo Anders Sune Berg
What is left of painting?
The month of September is always an ideal period for drawing up a statement or to start everything all over again. When one sees the unlimited number of new exhibitions, which is almost as long as that of new books, one can not refrain from wondering about the nature of painting. Does it still exist, after its demise was announced given the new media and performances? Is the figurative on the brink of death coming back from its ashes? What about the material technique and the capacity to imitate reality, which the elders so admired? In this “best of” of young world painters (in which the author did not hesitate to include older artists such as Etel Adnan or Peter Dreher), the Chinese are clearly the ones who pick up after Realism. The meticulousness with which Yuan Yuan gives life to interior scenes full of reflections and gold brings to mind the vanished refinement of the 18th century. Political and social concerns don’t seem to be overly present but they are elaborately dealt with, whether it is a thought on the post-colonial situation as seen by Meleko Mokgosi (Botswana) or portraits of Eder Oliveira on the walls of towns in the Amazon region, which refer to class racism. The variety of sources of inspiration, of the supports (Donald Moffett uses cotton, steel tubes, galvanized buckets), of the means (abstract, geometric, or introspection all have their followers of course) is stimulating. We can say, without hesitating, that painting is not dead! It’s a shame the texts are written in microscopic letters, which are not very friendly for the eyes of older amateurs.
• Vitamin P3. New Perspectives in Painting, collective work, Phaidon, 2017, 352 p., €59.95.