Solo exhibition of works by Olivier Mosset on view at the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation

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Solo exhibition of works by Olivier Mosset on view at the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation
Installation view. Photo: Jean-Paul Najar Foundation.

DUBAI.- The Jean-Paul Najar Foundation is presenting a solo exhibition of works by Swiss-born, Tucson-based conceptual artist Olivier Mosset. Curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, Olivier Mosset: Abstraction showcases works that span over 50 years of Mosset’s prolific artistic career. Held in partnership with ADS Securities and The Embassy of Switzerland in the United Arab Emirates, Mosset’s works is on view at 45 Alserkal Avenue until February 28th 2018.

Exhibiting in the Middle East for the first time, Olivier Mosset: Abstraction coincides with the anniversary of the founding of BMPT, an acronym for the Paris-based minimalist art collective formed in 1967 of which Mosset was a member along with Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni. One of the leading representatives of minimalism in the 1960’s, the BMPT movement opposed the new avant-garde in France, rejecting expressiveness in favour of practical artistic methods.

Mosset creates neutrality and autonomy in his paintings through the use of basic compositional techniques. His experimentation with forms, repetitive patterns and geometric motifs, shows “an urgency to start everything again from scratch, to interrogate the validity of painting”1.

Later, in 1970’s New York, Mosset focused on a long series of monochrome paintings. Co-founding the Radical Painting Group with artist Marcia Hafif, radical referred to an implied social and political stance, as well as a return to the “root” of painting.

Sharing a similar principle to BMPT, the Radical Painting Group placed emphasis on the medium itself and the different methods of application. Of his pursuit of objectivity and the physical roots of painting Olivier Mosset comments, “a good painting helps to define its modes of production, distribution and the system that allows it to exist.”2

On view at the JPNF are Mosset’s iconic identical oil paintings, featuring a black circle in the center of a white square canvas. Painting over 200 of these between 1966 and 1974, the concept of systematic repetition of the motif, vanishing aura and loss of authority, which is inherent to this group of works has become archetypal of Mosset’s philosophy and minimalist aesthetic. Following on from the circle paintings the exhibition continues on to Mosset’s monochromes featuring canvases of pure colour surface, scale and pattern.

Inhabiting the space within which they are exhibited, Mosset continues to evolve these themes of surface and scale in a new series of works painted in his Tucson studio earlier this year. Revealed to the public for the first time, this group of multi-panel chromatic works applied on a vast surface, vividly contrast blocks of orange, green and blue against pure white.

Refusing to indulge the self of either the artist or the viewer, Mosset’s new work continues to confront the painting’s materiality and in turn the materiality of space within which it is found. Primarily Mosset returns to the idea that a painting is a material existing in space and that the artist’s presence in the work only interrupts the experience the painting may provide.

Olivier Mosset was born in 1944 in Bern, Switzerland. Son of a chemical engineer and grandson of a watchmaker, Olivier Mosset undertook classical studies in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Mosset settled in Paris in 1965, after a temporary return to Switzerland to obtain a federal maturity. After his formative years in Paris, and the experience with the BMPT group, he left France for the United States in 1977. He moved to New York and shared a workshop on Broadway with the Swiss painter Grégoire Müller. Mosset’s minimalist, monochromatic abstractions have been featured in several solo and group exhibitions around the world. They have been featured in museum shows, private galleries, and institutions from the Fifth Biennial of Paris at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 1967 to the Whitney Biennial in 2008. The artist’s work can also be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Migros Museum in Zurich and the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne, and the MAMCO, Museum of Modern Art in Geneva. Olivier Mosset currently lives and works in Tucson, Arizona and New York City.

1 Edmond Charrière in The Olivier Mosset Collection: From the Artist to the Collector, 2014

2 Olivier Mosset in interview by Caterina D’Alessandro, Arteecrtica, 2012

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