Jean-Pierre Criqui


    It is a contemporary cliché: the painter who frenetically switches modes, so as to undermine the ideal of stylistic identity. Bernard Frize’s paintings, at first glance, give the impression of this kind of extreme heterogeneity, but while his work may follow no regular, easily parsed progression, neither is it animated by a kind of Brownian movement that deprives it of all structure. Rather, this work reveals an order that is both branching and discontinuous, like a network of echoes and resurgences.

    The principal difficulty of Frize’s oeuvre derives from the fact that the kinship among individual


    IN A RECENT EXHIBITION BY Jean-Marc Bustamante, one room—either the first or the last in the show, depending on the visitor’s route—was dark. Inside, on the far wall of the space, which was empty except for a modest projector on a tripod, you could watch Michelangelo Antonioni’s film La Notte (The night).1 No displacement or appropriation here, no desire on the artist’s part to absorb the film somehow into his own work: just a “presentation,” a screening, in conditions recalling more intimate times and circumstances the family watching home movies, say, or the showing of films at school. Given

  • Didier Vermeiren

    The first thing one noticed, when looking at the four sculptures that make up this exhibition, was a radical modification of the regular gallery space: Didier Vermeiren chose to occupy only the ground level, leaving the mezzanine to function as a belvedere. It was, however, only a virtual modification, in that nothing was actually changed in the architecture of the place; the site took on the general disposition of the works—like chesspieces, they defined the area they occupied and continually submitted it to a new and specific perception. (The floor, for example, with its usually unnoticeable

  • Emmanuel Saulnier

    Like a prism, Emmanuel Saulnier’s sculpture has from the start oscillated between the erasure and the proliferation of various points of view. It goes hand in glove with what one might call “la folie du jour,” to borrow a title from Maurice Blanchot (a text that could provide us with several clues as to what is at stake here). This “folly,” this enigma, posits that clarity (or transparence) is far from being merely a factor of legibility and unveiling, but is also—like the night—something that alters our perception by crippling or clouding it.

    The new works presented in this show (with one

  • Robert Grosvenor

    The seven sculptures Robert Grosvenor exhibited here, all untitled and created between 1977 and 1991, seem to reflect on the primitive—not in the sense of borrowing elements from different cultures but, rather, in the spirit of what Barnett Newman meant when he said that “the first man was an artist.” It seems possible, in fact, to view Grosvenor’s oeuvre as playing out a kind of fiction, that of the “earliest man of today”—a fiction both productive and improbable, which at its best plays on the tension between contemporary materials (corrugated iron, plastic, fiberglass) and “original” themes,

  • Bernard Frize

    Unique in the landscape of French art of the past two decades, the work of Bernard Frize is difficult to define, often giving rise to misinterpretations, primarily because the artist does not work in a trademark style. Showing little concern for a coherent visual order, Frize is in the habit of employing new methods of painting, reflective of his methodical flirtation with chance. He demonstrates a pronounced predilection for aporias and for stretching logic to the point of absurdity.

    This group of recent works thus depends, at least in part, on a premeditated abandonment to the physical properties

  • Lee Friedlander

    A man walks behind a woman in the street. The shadow of his head is projected onto her back, her fur collar momentarily giving him a crew cut. This double anti-portrait—one figure’s back, definitively anonymous, the other one indicated only by a kind of negative presence, a shadow—is not only a self-portrait, but a gift to those attuned to and interested in questions of sexual difference.

    A comparable allegorical potential may be found in many of Lee Friedlander’s photographs, above all in the series of self-portraits, most dating from the ’60s, presented in this show. Seen together, these images

  • Pascal Convert

    Architecture and self-portraiture, as forms of mnemonic art, provide the two principal axes of the works in Pascal Convert’s show. This is immediately apparent in the first of the dozen rooms in this exhibition, where the motif that informs the entire show is introduced. In reconstitution, 1991, Convert works with an object that is lost forever: a ruined villa on the Atlantic coast, evoked here by an almost life-size axonometric drawing of its interior, traced on the wall in black graphite. There is also an image of the building’s facade—a very schematic, simple silhouette drawn freehand and

  • Robert Ryman

    The inaugural show at this new space contains 44 works by Robert Ryman, executed between 1958 and 1991 (some of which are being shown here for the first time). Instead of presenting the paintings chronologically, the show’s curator Urs Raussmüller juxtaposed different formats and dates as he did in the Hallen für neue Kunst in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, where he serves as director. What is immediately striking in this vast, naturally lit space—an environment of concerted but unaffected neutrality—is the restricted polychromy of Ryman’s art, which is all too often relegated to the monochrome

  • “Virginia Dwan”

    In 1965, Virginia Dwan, who had been running a Los Angeles gallery since 1959, decided to open a second space in New York. This enterprise is the subject of this show, which follows a 1990 exhibit in the same space, presenting work she originally exhibited at the California gallery, by the French Nouveaux Réalistes, most notably Yves Klein and Martial Raysse.

    Dwan’s New York gallery was active for a relatively short period of time; although it became her pet project after she abandoned activity in Los Angeles in ’67, she finally closed the New York space in 1971. Sol LeWitt, Robert Smithson, Carl

  • Robert Gober

    Untitled Breast, 1990, a wax female breast positioned on the wall at eye level, welcomed visitors at the top of the stairway leading to the rooms of the new Jeu de Paume, the site of Robert Gober’s first solo exhibition in France. Though the moulage technique does render an effect of reality, it became quickly evident that this somewhat jaundiced object was not being played for its illusionistic qualities: the surface, painted ocher, was scarcely evocative of real flesh, and the color and texture of the material made one think more of a bar of soap, a suppository, or, of course, a candle.


  • Patrick Faigenbaum

    Since 1984 Patrick Faigenbaum has been photographing aristocratic Italian families in their homes. The images reveal an attention to detail at the levels of both conception and execution—an obsession imposed, perhaps, at the expense of the models’ patience. These are stylized portraits, in which static poses, and gazes fixed directly at the camera evoke centuries-old genealogies—the permanence of names that can be traced through the history of a country or a region.

    In the series shown here, entitled “Naples,” 1990-91, all of the images take the same square format, and wooden frames set them