fren

Jean-Pierre Pincemin

The influences cited by Pincemin are diverse, sometimes surprising. Music has informed his approach to visual composition, with works such as Untitled 1981 displaying an interest in the effects of harmony and tone which span both art forms.

Jean-Pierre Pincemin emerged at a time when French painting was in decline. Previous traditions of painting embodied by the celebrated École de Paris had lost its vigour. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Pop Art was in full swing, drawing attention to the brash materialism of late 1960s America. It was in this context that the movement known as Supports/Surfaces was launched, with Pincemin at its helm.

A young artist with a new vision, Pincemin aimed to reinvigorate French art, and bring it once again to an international audience. His early pieces, particularly those produced during the time of his involvement with Supports/Surfaces were largely concerned with the materiality of the works themselves. Employing cut canvas, and pasting sections of it together into huge patchworks of abstract colour, Pincemin created works which hung on the wall without any structural support. By 1972, however, he had moved on from Supports/Surfaces, and his style was to evolve in new directions. During the mid 70s he was producing the first of his Palissades (a French word which means simply ‘fence’), utilising large strips of canvas which had been dipped in colour and laid geometrically to form compositions almost architectural in their size and rigidity. The outcome was unpredictable, the dipping of the strips allowing an element of chance to determine their final tones.

 

By 1980 Pincemin’s approach had changed yet again. The energetic chaos of the early Palissades, their tones dictated more by chance than design, now gave way to the new, more careful attitude as we see in the present work from 1981. Gradually the compositions become more minimal, the number of strips eventually being reduced to three. The canvas, now supported on a more traditional stretcher, is no longer cut and reassembled, and the colours, or more precisely the tones, take precedence. The works become more precise, more peaceful, more classical, each plane carefully balancing the others, setting up subtle tonal relationships. And yet, as Untitled of 1981 demonstrates, this new sense of calm inherent in Pincemin’s second series of Palissades seems to make them even more striking than what had come before.

 

The time involved in the creation of these works is clear from the many layers involved, and any sense of automatism is rejected in favour of a clean, meticulous application of paint. The margin takes on a new importance, holding the composition together, fencing in the three central blocks like a palissade itself, and the resulting sense of depth and of intensity is remarkable.

 

The influences cited by Pincemin are diverse, sometimes surprising. Music has informed his approach to visual composition, with works such as Untitled 1981 displaying an interest in the effects of harmony and tone which span both art forms.

 

His work, and specifically its use of tone, is rooted in a noble French tradition which dates back to the works of French masters such as Jean Clouet, Nicolas de Largillière and Charles le Brun. Since his death in 2005, Pincemen’s work has been celebrated in a number of important exhibitions, most notably a large retrospective which toured France in 2010 and revealed an unusually versatile talent. When viewed alongside the other works included in this comprehensive show, it becomes clear that the second series of Palissades represent the zenith of the artist’s experiments in abstraction; in a controversial volte-face, his next series were to leap unashamedly into the figurative. As such, Untitled 1981 embodies the tenets of one of the artist’s most notable series, engendering an imposing monumentality which is at once densely profound and resonantly concordant.

 

UNTITLED, 1981

Mixed media on canvas

H 193 x W 170 cm
H 76 x W 67 in.

UNTITLED, HORIZONTAL, 1983

Oil on canvas

H 250 x W 198 cm
H 98,5 x W 78 inches

UNTITLED, VERTICAL, 1983

Mixed media on canvas

H 210 x W 151 cm
H 82,7 x W 59,5 inches

COMPOSITION GEOMETRIQUE, 1981

Oil on canvas

H 127 x W 157 cm
H 50 x W 61,9 inches

Send this to a friend