MASSIMODECARLO is very pleased to present Bertrand Lavier in Hong Kong, marking the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery, and first in Hong Kong.
The exhibition unfolds in two parts: the first dedicated to colour, the second, to landscape, or geography, both abstract and figurative.
Bertrand Lavier’s practice makes key use of irony and humour: the artist is on a constant, light-hearted, investigation of art itself. The analysis of medium and gesture is explored in the relationship between the pictorial element and object-hood.
In the first room, Lavier’s iconic “readymades” are presented alongside vibrant red, silver and white abstract monochromes. A central figure of conceptual art, and more specifically in artistic appropriation, Lavier is perhaps best known for these “readymades”, that he creates by covering everyday industrial objects such as refrigerators, tables, pianos, and furniture with an impasto layer of paint.
Here, a bright cobalt blue car trunk, as well as a blue ping pong table are hung on the walls. Transposed into the art gallery, they are no longer uninteresting elements of every-day life. Lavier elevates them to the status of “art” – and by doing so, by hanging them up like absurd hunting trophies, repositions them as elements in his subtle critique of consumerism and deeply entrenched visual habits.
Critical of the fetishization of the art object, Lavier considers his work only fully realized as an exhibition—as a constellation of works that generate meaning exclusively through their interrelationships.
Completing this constellation, Lavier presents new works that center on landscape and geography. Considering his bodies of works chantiers(worksites in French), meaning that they are in constant evolution, Lavier reveals the importanc of context for him: what is relevant in his work is the process as much as the result itself. Sombernon, Atomium and Rue du Pont Louis Philippe, each refer to different places, both in France and Belgium. Yet neither of these present truthful representations of these geographical locations.
What you see in the work of Lavier is never what it appears to be at first glance: every piece hides in its apparent simplicity and deconstruction of codes, a series of layers that testify to the industrious conceptual and crafting process that is behind each work.
Bertrand Lavier (b. 1949, Châtillon-sur-Seine, France) is a French artist based in Paris and Burgundy. As a seminal figure in the movement towards appropriation art in the 1980s and 1990s, Bertrand Lavier is perhaps best known for his readymades, created by covering everyday industrial objects such as refrigerators, tables, pianos, and furniture with an impasto layer of paint. He appropriates ubiquitous objects and images in order to reposition them as elements in a strategic critique of consumerism, deeply entrenched visual habits, and art institutions. Fiercely critical of the fetishization of the art object, Lavier considers his work only fully realized as an exhibition—as a constellation of works that generate meaning exclusively through their interrelationships.
His works can be found in major public collections, including those of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, MOCA Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo in Tokyo, and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.