Known for his kaleidoscopic abstract works, Simon Hantaï (1922–2008) originated the technique of pliage (folding), in which a canvas is crumpled and knotted, uniformly painted over, and then spread out to reveal a matrix of alternations between pigment and ground. Born in Bia, Hungary, Hantaï studied at the Budapest School of Fine Arts from 1941 to 1946. In 1948 he moved to Paris after receiving a government grant to study there; after his grant was later revoked in the wake of the escalating Sovietization of his homeland, he decided to stay. In Paris, he met André Breton in December 1952 and quickly became associated with the Parisian Surrealists, completing several fantastical animal-themed paintings before encountering the work of Jackson Pollock and breaking with the Surrealist ideologies in 1955. Pollock’s action paintings and the work of the Abstract Expressionists directly inspired Hantaï’s own turn toward monumentally scaled abstraction.
Hantaï began creating pliage paintings in 1960, conceiving of the process as a marriage between Surrealist automatism and the allover gestures of Abstract Expressionism. The technique dominated the work he made during the rest of his career, re-emerging in diverse forms—sometimes as a network of crisp creases of unpainted canvas spanning the composition, and at other times as a monochrome mass manifesting in the center of an unprimed canvas. Hantaï left Paris and moved to Meun, France, in 1966, becoming a French citizen that year. He gained increasing recognition in France throughout the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in his selection as the country’s representative at the 1982 Venice Biennale. Months later, however, he withdrew from the public eye and chose not to exhibit new works until 1998, when he ended his self-imposed retreat. In 2008 Hantaï died at his home in Paris, leaving behind a corpus of fractal-like compositions whose surfaces exist in flux between deliberate and arbitrary mark making.
Extended through June 27, 2020
LES NOIRS DU BLANC, LES BLANCS DU NOIR
October 13, 2019–June 27, 2020
October 21–24, 2021, booth B23
Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris
Gagosian is pleased to participate in FIAC 2021 with a presentation of painting, sculpture, and works on paper by gallery artists. The booth will feature works by Georg Baselitz, Edmund de Waal, Helen Frankenthaler, Theaster Gates, Katharina Grosse, Simon Hantaï, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Steven Parrino, Auguste Rodin, Sterling Ruby, Setsuko, Jim Shaw, and Cy Twombly, among others. A selection of the works will also appear on gagosian.com and in FIAC’s Online Viewing Room.
Simon Hantaï, Blancs, 1974 © Archives Simon Hantaï/ADAGP, Paris, 2020. Photo: Rob McKeever
FIAC Online 2021
March 2–12, 2021
Gagosian is pleased to present Printemps oublié for the first online edition of FIAC. This curated presentation reflects the dual character of springtime as a reminder of past trials and the harbinger of a vibrant new season to come.
All the artworks will appear on the Gagosian website and a rotating selection will appear in the inaugural FIAC Online Viewing Rooms, from March 4 to 7.
Jeff Koons, Bluebird Planter, 2010–16 © Jeff Koons
West Bund Art & Design 2020
November 12–15, 2020, booth A102
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design 2020 with an extensive group presentation. Along with the gallery’s booth at ART021 Shanghai, on view between November 14 and 15, this will be Gagosian’s first in-person art fair since the covid-19 lockdown in March. The gallery’s participation was made possible by extraordinary support from the artists involved.
John Currin, Pistachio, 2016 © John Currin
Simon Hantaï in
Touching the Void
Through November 1, 2023
Museum of Modern Art, New York
As part of New Art from Wall to Wall, the Museum of Modern Art is presenting never-before and rarely shown works in themed, reimagined collection galleries. The gallery Touching the Void explores an important artistic tendency of the 1960s: a shift away from the idea that art should express the artist’s interior life. Works in this vein searched for a poetics of bare form and focused on structural elements such as line, plane, and volume. Whether strict or playful, the work of these artists tested the meditative possibilities of objectivity, challenging viewers to heighten their sensory perception. Work by Simon Hantaï is included.
Installation view, Touching the Void, Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 14, 2020–November 1, 2023. Artwork, left to right: © Archives Simon Hantaï/ADAGP, Paris, 2021; © Carlos Rojas; © 2021 Robert Ryman; © 2021 Fundación Gego; © Liliana Porter. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar
March 25, 2020–January 25, 2021
Musée du Louvre-Lens, France
This sensory exhibition, whose title translates to Black Suns, offers a fresh perspective on the color black, which has been endowed with a multitude of symbolic meanings in Western art from antiquity to the present day. The exhibition features nearly 180 works, intermingling periods and disciplines, and spanning painting, fashion, the decorative arts, the moving image, and installations. Work by Douglas Gordon, Simon Hantaï, and Damien Hirst is included.
Simon Hantaï, Etude I, suite pour Pierre Reverdy, 1969 © Archives Simon Hantaï/ADAGP, Paris, 2020. Photo: Claude Gaspari
Par où on ne sait pas
January 17–April 27, 2020
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, France
This exhibition celebrates the partnership between the Réunion des Musées Métropolitains and the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art by bringing together works painted by Simon Hantaï. Between 1951 and 1959 the artist’s pictorial inventions elevated the canvas to act alongside the painter; this idea subsequently opened a path for younger artists to consider new ways of painting.
Simon Hantaï, Peinture, 1952–53, Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Geneva © Archives Simon Hantaï/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: André Morin
Simon Hantaï in
Le monde nouveau de Charlotte Perriand
October 2, 2019–February 24, 2020
Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris
This large-scale exhibition dedicated to Charlotte Perriand (1903–1999), a pioneer of modernity, marks the twentieth anniversary of her death. Exploring the links between art, architecture, and design, this show pays tribute to her as an architect and a visionary. Work by Simon Hantaï is included.
Installation view, Le monde nouveau de Charlotte Perriand, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, October 2, 2019–February 24, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Robert Delaunay; © 2019 Calder Foundation, New York/ADAGP, Paris; © Archives Simon Hantaï/ADAGP, Paris, 2019. Photo: © Fondation Louis Vuitton/Marc Domage