When Massimo De Carlo first opened his gallery in 1987, his inaugural exhibition was simply entitled: Olivier Mosset.
Since then, both have gone on to collaborate on numerous occasions, bringing us to Pièce Unique today. This exhibition marks the artist’s fourth solo presentation, and ninth exhibition with the gallery to date.
The importance of Olivier Mosset’s voice in the history of contemporary art, and more specifically in post-war Abstraction, is difficult to overstate: since his iconic black circle paintings– a series of 200 identical 1m x1m canvases completed between 1966 and the 1974, Mosset has been recognized as a trailblazer in the utopian search for creative neutrality.
Working closely with fellow artists Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni in the mid 1960’s, the four organize five radical “manifestations”: from works painted in public and then removed from the venue for nobody to see, to interventions exhibiting paintings in a theater, this “group”, which would later be dubbed BMPT, rattled the art system.
The constant effort to deconstruct painting and radical questioning of context, subjectivity and authorship are the cornerstones of Mosset’s practice.
The work presented at MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique today opens a new chapter in the artist’s quest of neutrality.
The title itself, TBT - “to be titled” is the first, direct manifestation of this: the artwork remains in a state of becoming, as if challenging the need to title an artwork to make it complete.
Using chameleon paint on a full aluminium honeycomb panel, the artist’s “hand” in creating this work is almost invisible. Indeed, TBT does not only continue Mosset’s exploration of scale and colour, the work’s very medium, chameleon paint, allows for the work’s shimmering surface to mutate constantly, according to the viewer’s position and lighting in the room.
At the crossover between pop-art, monochrome and kinetic art, TBT alludes subtly to all of these artistic currents: the work’s shimmering effect is a reminder of pop art’s bursting, flashing colour and use of glitter, its flat, color-block appearance gives an illusion of abstract monochrome, and finally, its chameleon, ungraspable pigmented surface turns the work into a mobile piece.
Completing this effect, Mosset’s choice to hang the work as a diamond, rather than “classically” as a horizontal square, strengthens the surface’s chameleon, glitter surface, once again confronting the viewer with all of the things that may have come to be taken for granted in the presentation, and apprehension of contemporary art.