“Unleashing Color”, Claude Viallat at the Venet Foundation
Michel Gathier

#LE MUY This extra soul that surrounds a work often lies in the place that welcomes it. The Venet Foundation in Le Muy in the Var spreads out in the perfection of the five hectares of a light park crossed by the fresh curves of the Argens, its mill where the artist resides, the industrial buildings for Bernar Venet’s ever-changing works and a contemporary gallery for the summer temporary exhibition.
Nature is experienced here as the creation of an artist who has been able to extract lines and colours from it, echoing his own work on matter, steel, rust and gigantism associated with this tension towards the absolute purity of minimalism. Like a Japanese garden, each tree, each sculpture then rises in the majesty of a sign. The chapel created by Franck Stella in 2014 for the inauguration of the Foundation responds harmoniously with its curves to the corners and straight lines of the Gallery, which this summer pays tribute to the work of Claude Viallat.
This visual stripping, these only chromatic references of white and black as responses to the green immensity of nature allow the works to express all their intensity. It contains the most important collection of conceptual and minimal art with vast installations by James Turell, one of which opens an eliptical oculus on the sky for a hymn vibrating with light. The works of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin or Sol LeWitt, this year so present at Art Basel, dot the property where we will meet those of Arman, Robert Morris, Tony Cragg and many others among the “undetermined lines” of Bernar Venet’s sculptures.
This summer, colour is celebrated through the work of Claude Viallat. The exhibition presents about twenty paintings made on military tarpaulins from 1980 to recent years. Monumental pieces where the artist expresses his own grammar in his gaze on the balance and quality of the material, the appearance of an arbitrary form that absorbs both colour and delimits its contrasts as if for a radical reading of Matisse’s windows and cuts. Colour triumphs and, with its power alone, a material space is organized through seams, folds and ropes. The works stand as if to tear up space and extract its essence. They proclaim themselves in their strict obviousness as if they brought to this place the magic of colour to respond to the perfection of a space, an architecture and a serene nature where art could blossom in complete freedom.
From June 13 to September 13
Claude Viallat: Unleashing colour
Venet Foundation