From May 27 to July 22 2016, Galerie Andrea Caratsch is showing ‘Olivier Mosset’, an exhibition consisting of seven new large, monochrome, shaped canvases, accomplished by the artist in 2015.
In front of a Mosset painting, the main confrontation is with the works materiality, and by extension the materiality of space within which it exists, and ultimately by our own realities, a condition that may or may not be welcome, but one that refuses to engage in myth, or indulge the egos of either the artist or viewer.
Olivier Mosset seems to be constantly circling back to the same question, which is that painting is fundamentally a material plane, existing in space, and that the artist’s presence in the work may be in fact a distraction from the experience that the painting might provide. Combining playfulness with intellectual rigor, Mosset’s work is unusual in the history of painting. While many artists have their breakthrough and then go on to repeat it, Mosset’s work poses a challenge to the notion of a programmatic response to a set of aesthetic problems that come out of an artist’s struggle. For Mosset, the personality is beside the point. A painting exists for itself. This view contradicts much of what we assume about art and authorship.
While artists like Duchamp, Warhol and Sturtevant have parodied these mythologies, they keep coming back. This is perhaps because they are not entirely creations of artists themselves, but the system within which their work is viewed. It seems quite clear by now that we need artists to be “artists”, meaning that the symbolic necessity for a class of persons who embody individualism is essential for society as a whole.
Olivier Mosset has steadily chipped away at the rigidity of the subject-author position. A particular episode springs to mind: in 2009 he let John Armleder appropriate his own exhibition, Olivier Mosset’s “Ten Monochromes”. Rather than ‘collect and go home’, the works remained in situ and Mosset’s show now ‘became’ Armleder’s “Ten Monochromes”. In not only accepting, but embracing the fact of being appropriated by another artist, Mosset silently protests against the idea of the exclusive authorship of the artist, wreaking havoc with an art system that demands to know ‘who’s’who’ in order to assign credit and therefore value.
Oliver Mosset is born in Berne, Switzerland and today lives and works in Tucson, Arizona,
He spent his formative years in Paris and New York. In the 1960s, Mosset was a member of BMPT, a group of conceptually driven painters, along with Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni. The group sought to democratize art through radical procedures of deskilling, implying that the art object was more important than its authorship. In the late 1970s, Mosset undertook a series of monochrome paintings on canvases, mostly of monumental format, that more or less implicitly comment on circuits of production and exchange. For four decades, he has been researching the future of painting through geometric abstraction, exploring other formats and materials of abstract painting.