30 May to 8 September 2019
curated by Sabine Schaschl
Since the mid-1960s, Olivier Mosset (b. 1944 in Bern, lives in Tucson, Arizona) has been one of the most radical representatives of a contemporary manner of painting that undermines the ideal of artistic originality by means of objectivity and seriality. Taking the question of what painting is and how it works as a starting point, he has produced a multifaceted oeuvre of monochromes and abstract geometric works that reject any mystifying attribution of meaning, as exemplified by the pieces now presented at Museum Haus Konstruktiv.
Olivier Mosset’s career as an artist began around 1965 in Paris, where he initially worked as an assistant for Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri. His first painted works featured numbers, letters and dots on a white background. In 1966, together with Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni, he co-founded the artists’ group BMPT, named according to their initials. With the aim of fundamentally questioning painting in its predominant form and starting from scratch, they organized four provocative collective acts, in which they broke away from abstract expressionism and École de Paris. The group already disbanded in 1967. From 1966 to 1974, he produced around two hundred identical paintings: For the purpose of undermining the principle of authorship and of creating a manner of painting that refers to nothing other than itself, Mosset persistently painted black rings on white primed canvases. However, as these untitled rings became a kind of signature, he turned to horizontal and vertical, mostly two-tone, striped paintings that led him onward to monochromy. In 1977, Mosset moved to New York, where he met key representatives of so-called radical painting and exhibited with them collectively. Until the mid-1980s, he intensively addressed color field painting, experimenting with various colors and formats while consistently intent on applying paint without any individual style. In 1985, he returned to geometric abstraction and also produced sculptural works from then on.
For the exhibition opening at Museum Haus Konstruktiv the so-called Cimaises were realized in ice for the first time. They were only be seen briefly in the museum’s forecourt. The use of ephemeral materials has become increasingly important in recent years. This is also evident in the light piece specially developed for the exhibition space on the second floor by lighting designer Madjid Hakimi (b. 1962 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, lives in Paris) at the invitation of Olivier Mosset.
This exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalog (German/English). Published by Snoeck Verlag in Cologne. With text contributions by Sabine Schaschl, Philip Ursprung and Evelyne Bucher.