Critics’ Picks

View of “Pieter Vermeersch,” 2017.

View of “Pieter Vermeersch,” 2017.


Pieter Vermeersch

Perrotin | Paris
76 rue de Turenne
January 7–March 11, 2017

Belgian artist Pieter Vermeersch’s second solo show at this gallery’s Paris location comprises seventeen abstract paintings, all Untitled, 2016, made on canvas and marble. They do not readily blend into the architecture of the space—a strategy the artist has employed before.

The show opens with a series of large chromatic fade-outs on canvas. Each painting has been defaced with scratches: meditative gestures that seem to function as indices of the body. In another room of the gallery, two paintings with more rigid monochromatic gradations, created to mirror each other, have been partially obscured by a pair of marble slabs leaning up against them. The artist sets up an interesting dynamic between the permanence of the marble and the impermanence, even feebleness, of human mark-making.

Other pieces highlight the intensity of the rich pigments he uses. Vermeersch’s colors, like blades, cut through the natural patterns of his hard supports, such as onyx and red travertine. His planned abstract forms contrast remarkably with the abstractions—built over hundreds of years—of the stones. In five smaller paint-on-marble works, the artist stops playing illusionistic games. The daubs of oil paint atop smooth, cold planes create perceptual phenomena that are decidedly sculptural.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.