Installation view of Pierre Soulages's Peinture, 130 x 130 cm, 10 octobre 2019

Detail view of Pierre Soulages's Peinture, 130 x 130 cm, 10 octobre 2019

Pierre Soulages
皮耶·蘇拉吉 繪畫

Peinture, 130 x 130 cm, 10 octobre 2019, 2019
繪畫 130 x 130 厘米,2019年10月10日, 2019年作



Acrylic on canvas
51 3/16 x 51 3/16 inches (130 x 130 cm)
壓克力 畫布
130 x 130 厘米 (51 3/16 x 51 3/16 吋)
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Black is before light. Before light, the world and its things were in total darkness. With light were born colors. Black is before them. Also before each of us, before being born, “before having seen the light of day.” These notions of origin are profoundly buried in us. Is it for these reasons that black touches us so powerfully? —Pierre Soulages, 2005

The inception of Pierre Soulages’s Outrenoir series can be traced to 1979, when the artist was in his studio, grappling with a painting he felt was incomplete: “I was unhappy, and because I thought it was pure masochism to continue, I went off to sleep. When I woke up, I went to look at the painting. I saw that it was no longer the black that brought the painting to life but rather the reflection of light on the black surfaces.” While his earlier works had already emphasized the use of black ink or paint, Soulages would, from this point on, completely cover his canvases with textured black pigments, inaugurating a philosophical inquiry into the existential beyond: “Outrenoir doesn’t exist in English; the closest is ‘beyond black.’ In French you say ‘outre-Manche’ to mean England or ‘outre-Rhin’ to mean Germany. In other words, “beyond black” is another country from black.”

“A painting is an organization,” Soulages wrote in 1974; “a set of relationships between shapes, lines, and colored surfaces, on which the meanings we give it are made and unmade.” This statement endures to the present, as the artist’s work continues to resist the conveyance of meaning in absolute terms. However, unlike Minimalist paintings, Soulages’s works are holistic—discrete entities within their surroundings—and rather than asserting a painting-as-object status, they exist as subjective extensions of experiential reality.

The title of Peinture, 130 x 130 cm, 10 octobre 2019 is derived from the dimensions of its support and the date of its completion. Soulages has titled his works this way for the past six decades, emphasizing the fact of the painting as a delineated entity in space and marks its temporal origin. Despite the definitive metrics of the title, the evolution of the work as an object—or rather a “thing” (chose), as the artist prefers to call his paintings—is a perpetually ongoing source of interaction. His late works operate as a determined affirmation of painting’s perpetual renewal. Peinture, 130 x 130 cm, 10 octobre 2019 is a unique construction, one that does not correlate to a sensory or conceptual referent, but one that registers the consequences of the gestures of its creation. The work firmly establishes the possibility of knowledge without dictating what that knowledge should be, leaving that undertaking to the viewer.

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