As The Plane Was Reaching Cruising Altitude
August 16, 2019
In Nathalie Du Pasquier’s first exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery, the artist presents an installation of colorful geometric works on paper and monochromatic wooden objects, using the floorplan of the gallery as a field for her composition. Juxtaposing two-dimensional patterns and three-dimensional constructions, the artist examines the relationship between pictorial space and actual planes in the surrounding environment.
Nathalie Du Pasquier (b. 1957, Bordeaux, France) is a Milan-based artist, and founding member of Memphis, an influential Postmodern design and architecture collective active in Italy throughout the 1980s. Her design practice encompasses decorative surfaces, furniture, jewelry, and iconic textile patterns. In 1987, Du Pasquier pivoted away from the design world, and has since devoted herself to painting. Still lifes and architectural abstractions that play with flattened space dominate her practice.
Extending from this, the exhibition As The Plane Was Reaching Cruising Altitude, features 19 column-like oil on paper works attached directly to the walls, and interspersed wooden constructions placed at perpendicular angles. Each ‘column’ is comprised of two or three modules, which the artist created without prior sketching and independently of one another. Du Pasquier’s modules are drawn from an internal repertoire of colors and shapes, which she continually recycles and recombines, each time creating something entirely unique.
Through an intuitive collage-like process, she stacks multiple modules together to form a single work. Some are on a rectangular piece of paper, while others are cut out around shapes within the module, adding curves and variation to the towering silhouettes. The colorfully patterned columns, while abstract and completely flush against the walls, are suggestive of buildings, furniture, totems, or imaginary machines
The addition of a thick black painted stripe skirting the bottom of the walls unites and grounds the columns, acting as a low black shelf. Of course, the absence of shadows keeps them in the world of illusory space. The stripe, alluding to gravity and weight, segues into the freestanding three-dimensional constructions with wooden objects arranged on top. These three-dimensional forms are not sculptures, but shapes, which have existed in the artist’s memory for a long time. As a visual and physical counterpart to the columns, they punctuate and animate the space, and all together form a poetic and liminal landscape.
Nathalie Du Pasquier’s work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions since the late 1980s. Notable solo exhibitions include Viaggio Tranquillo 1988–1993 at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (1993); Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Bahia Blanca, Argentina (1995); Big Objects Not Always Silent, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2016), which traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (2017); Other Rooms at the Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2017/2018), and most recently Fair Game at the International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2018/2019). In 2018, Du Pasquier was included in L’Almanach 18: 3e Biennale Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Consortium Museum, Dijon, France.