“Calligram” was Bernard Piffaretti’s first solo show in London. With nine paintings dating between 1988 and 2017, it also provided a tiny snapshot of his range and approach. Born in Saint-Étienne, France, in 1955, the Paris-based artist has since 1986 been making abstract paintings that are always divided in half along a central, zip-like, painted line, with one side a near repetition of the other. Always, the center line is the first move, the starting point; whether he then continues by painting on the left or the right varies from work to work. A subtler continuity within Piffaretti’s oeuvre, on the whole, is the sense of freshness and immediacy conveyed by his flat, brightly colored forms or structures on white grounds, despite the evident artifice of the double configuration. Drips and dribbles, constants in most pieces, record a sense of the moment.
Untitled, 2017, exemplifies
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.
Not registered for artforum.com?
SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*
* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.