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Bertrand Lavier


Châtillon-sur-Seine, France, 1949. He lives and works in Paris and Aignay-le-Duc.


Since the late 1960s, Lavier has reflected upon the relationship between painting and sculpture, representation and abstraction, life and art. An overriding characteristic of his work is its tongue in cheek attitude. In order to shape his ideas, Lavier developed a series of ''demonstrations'': methods and strategies that enable him to question our intellectual baggage and to disrupt our most entrenched visual habits. His best-known intervention is to cover everyday objects with what he refers to as typical ''Van Gogh-brushwork''. With this act, banal objects become artworks but, even more importantly, the object becomes a painted image of itself. Paradoxically, the representation of reality only occurs when the original object is hidden from view and completely disappears. Another ‘demonstration’ consists of combining two different objects in an absurd associative manner, such as a sculpture of Alexander Calder placed upon a radiator with an identical brand name, or La Bocca (Dali’s famous lip-shaped sofa) balanced upon a white freezer manufactured by Bosch.

In 2012 he had a major retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Other recent solo exhibitions include l’Affaire Tournesols, Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles; En résonance avec la Biennale d’art Contemporain de Lyon, Musée d’Art Moderne de St Etienne, France (2011); Afternoon, Tsum, Moscou, Russia Musée Hermes, Séoul, Korea (2010); and Musée Correspondances. Bertrand Lavier/Edouard Manet, Musée d’Orsay, Paris (2008).

see also
June 26—October 20, 1988
Europe Now