<span class="chapeau">The exhibition “Accrochage” at Punta della Dogana includes a group of paintings by Michel Parmentier that are representative of his work's radical nature and committed activist stance.</span> <br><br> <div class="auteur col m-4"> <div class="inner"> <div class="white"> <a class="switch">Text</a><br> <b>Alfred Pacquement</b><br> <span>Former director of MNAM — Centre Pompidou</span> </div> </div> </div> <br><br><br> <div class="clearfix"> <span class="col m-1"> </span><span class="title">Michel</span><br> <span class="col m-2"> </span><span class="title col">PARMENTIER</span> </div> <div class="clearfix"> <br><br> <span class="alinea"></span>Few painters have opted for a path as radical as that trodden by Michel Parmentier—and this applies as much to his two phases of pictorial production as to the fifteen-year hiatus between them. For three years, from 1966 to 1968, Parmentier created the same painting repeatedly, with the same format and using the same process, changing only their color. They were “all the same,” he has said. “Alternating horizontal stripes, each thirty-eight centimeters wide... each year the color would change, because I didn’t want people to interpret a single, favorite color as something obsessive or symbolic.” ( 1 ) In 1968, he abandoned this series.<br><br> <span class="alinea"></span>Then, in 1983, he returned to this practice, taking it up precisely where he had left it off and resuming his production of identical canvases, this time using black paint. The process was the same: using an airbrush or spray-paint, he applied paint in large horizontal stripes to meticulously folded canvases, borrowing the method famously pioneered by Simon Hantaï. Parmentier set out to push to an extreme “the persistent fascination of the gesture.” ( 2 )<br><br> <span class="alinea"></span>The series would continue to grow, always using the same structure of alternating stripes and Hantaï’s “pliage” technique, but on paper or tracing paper. This second series is itself quite fascinating, and relatively overlooked in relation to the critical importance accorded to the early years of Parmentier’s career. Here he abandons painting and color. He attempts to pare down his method, to distance himself from producing works that are all too present by creating instead almost evanescent works: stripes of very delicate paper, yellowing and covered with barely visible graphite script, described by Parmentier as “graphic babbling.” Then he created fragile leaves of transparent tracing paper. Some of these he coated in charcoal, in pastel, or with oilbar; the rest he left blank and simply folded. In his most recent works, the visual confusion created by the white traces and the creamy white of the tracing paper evokes Simon Hantaï’s final paintings, the “Tabulas Lilas,” pliages of white paint on white canvas. Like Hantaï, Parmentier deliberately chose to rein in his skills as a draftsman (though his early works produced during the 1960s, for which he was awarded the prestigious Prix Lefranc, demonstrate that he was quite gifted in this area). He sought to capture the neutrality of an inexpressive gesture, to inscribe silence on paper: an exemplary position to adopt, in stark contrast with the flashy nature of contemporary art. <br><br> 1 — Michel Parmentier, tract, December 6, 1967.<br> 2 — Michel Parmentier in <i>Artistes</i>, n° 11, Paris, 1982. </div>
 
Michel PARMENTIER<br /><i>30 octobre 1966</i> — 1966<br> Painting on unfixed canvas, composed of four 38-cm-wide blue stripes, three 38-cm-wide white stripes, and one 13-cm-wide white stripe at bottom<br> 274 × 209 cm
 
Michel PARMENTIER<br /><i>30 janvier 1968</i> — 1968<br> Ripolin poppy-red lacquer on unfixed canvas<br> 251 × 229 cm
 
Michel PARMENTIER<br /><i>13 janvier 1984</i> — 1984<br> Painting on unfixed canvas, composed of four 38-cm-wide black stripes, three 38-cm-wide white stripes, and one 15.5-cm-wide white stripe at bottom<br> 281,4 × 243 cm
Michel PARMENTIER<br /><i>16 juillet 1988</i> — 1988<br> Lead mine on paper<br> 307,5 × 687,5 cm
 
Michel PARMENTIER<br /><i>6 juin 1991</i> — 1991<br> Tracing paper, folded into seven horizontal 38-cm-wide stripes, with two 19-cm-wide stripes at top and bottom, then unfolded and smoothed<br> 304 × 308 cm
 
Michel PARMENTIER<br /><i>31 mars 1993</i> — 1993<br> Vertically applied oilbar on tracing paper/film/Herculène-band vellum paper, composed of seven horizontal 38-cm-wide stripes and two 19-cm-wide stripes at top and bottom<br> 304 × 300 cm
 

Pinault Collection

Pinault Collection Magazine - Issue #06

 

Pinault Collection

Archives