Painting or how to get rid of it @Rome

From 11 June to 14 September 2014, the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici presents the group exhibition Painting or how to get rid of it, curated by Éric de Chassey. The exhibition brings together the works of four artists of different nationalities: Italian Fabio Mauri and American Marcia Hafif – who lived and worked in Rome – French Martin Barré and Swiss Olivier Mosset – who both lived in Paris for a long time.

The exhibition, whose title was inspired by Eugène Ionesco’s play Amedeus or how to get rid of him, poses the question of the end of painting that has obsessed artists since the birth of abstractism at the beginning of the Twentieth century. In the 1960s, the logic of reducing painting to its primary components, which mark minimalism, asserts itself and leads to a form of art consisting of almost nothing, whose logical and inevitable consequence seems to be the death of painting. Painting or how to get rid of it reveals how much more complex these evolutions actually were.

Between 1959 and 1969, Fabio Mauri, Marcia Hafif, Martin Barré and Olivier Mosset took the logic of a progressive reduction and final disappearance of abstract painting to extremes in Rome and Paris. In the following years, they approached conceptual art or the ‘performance’, but unlike many of their contemporaries, they ended up by going back to painting without disowning their beginnings or their extra-pictorial experiences. The works on display cover three fundamental periods of their artistic careers and the history of abstraction: abstract painting devoted to the disappearance of forms and colors, conceptual or performative works realized especially through films or photography, and finally, abstract paintings that refer to painting after the end of painting.