Bernard Piffaretti

“My painting is built around a great paradox: To deny in order to better assert. My painting thinks and puts its thinking on display. It will unfold and thus deny its essential issues and underlying basis: chronology, origin, ending, incompleteness, series, montage, reproduction, etc… These are archetypal figures in painting.” Bernard Piffaretti

  • Chronique du tableau 2002-2006, 2007, Centre d’art contemporain Séte

  • Chronique du tableau 2002-2006, 2007, Centre d’art contemporain Séte

  • Chronique du tableau 2002-2006, 2007, Centre d’art contemporain Séte

  • Presque Suisse, 2007, MAMCO, Geneve

  • Presque Suisse, 2007, MAMCO, Geneve

  • CRASH, 2021, Surplus Space, Wuhan

  • V.O. (version originale sous-titrée), 2008, Musée Matisse, Le Château Cambresis

  • V.O. (version originale sous-titrée), 2008, Musée Matisse, Le Château Cambresis

  • V.O. (version originale sous-titrée), 2008, Musée Matisse, Le Château Cambresis

  • Kontinuum, 2018, Klemm’s, Berlin

  • Mitte, 2013, Klemm’s, Berlin

  • Mitte, 2013, Klemm’s, Berlin

  • No Chronology, 2015, Klemm’s, Berlin

About the artist

Bernard Piffaretti‘s works and his artistic approach belong to the central positions in the multi-faceted field of painting and the constant discourse about the nature, the limitations and options of the medium. Since the late 1980s, Bernard Piffaretti‘s work has been determined by the idiosyncratic principle of duplication, the image double. In doing so, he consistently follows an established pattern: a vertically set, coloured line divides the canvas in the middle in two parts and the ‘image’ painted on one side is realised a second time on the other. This happens with immense formal and compositional security – without technical aids, a la prima, swift, and confident.

Whereas a copy would be condemned to failure, Piffaretti´s work is concerned with the transitory momentum that comes into effect through the presence of that separating line. It not only enables an awareness of the painting process but also creates distance to the seemingly expressive style. When faced with duplication, different kinds of questions can be raised – which would seem otherwise, in the context of a one-fold tableau, misplaced.

It is these ever visible slight variances, drippings, errors, and small, formal differences that actually pull together the two halves of the painting, filling their content with life and vivacity – they generate hence the contextual stage, which makes it possible to incorporate a diverse range of painterly contents and to bring it on the canvas. It is up to the spectators to highlight emotional or intellectual aspects of Bernard Piffaretti´s formal language.

“The second part exists in a deceptive relation to the first one. Reciprocally, the first one can only be perceived as the initial one because it is repeated, or left by itself, unaccompanied. The dialogue between the two halves seems to formulate following tacit agreement: ‘We will pretend to be equal, but we will never be the same’.” Fanny Gonella, Künstlerhaus Bremen

Publications

  • Works: 1986 - 2015

    Text: Paul Galvez. Ed.: Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles; galerie frank elbaz, Paris, KLEMM'S, Berlin, Karma, New York, 2016
  • Report.

    Dialogue entre Matt Connors et Bernard Piffaretti. Ed.: Galerie Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, 2013
  • AVANT/POST ou la survie de l'espèce

    Text: Marie Muracciole. Ed.: Epileptic, Paris, 2011
  • on inachève bien les tableaux

    Text: Lorand Hegyi, Didier Semin, Michel Giroud, Bernard Piffaretti. Ed.: Musée d’art moderne de Saint-Etienne, 2009
  • Si vous avez manqué la première partie… – Fortune critique, écrits et entretiens, 1982-2007. Ed.: Les presses du réel, collection Mamco, 2008

  • V.O (version originale sous- titrée) Musée Matisse.

    Text: Bernard Marcadé, Emilie Ovaere, Michel Giroud. Ed.: Crac de Sète et du Mamco, 2008
  • After pas égaux, dessins après tableaux 1998/2006. Ed.: la Villa Saint-Clair, 2007

  • Text: Jean-Marc Huitorel et Bruno Haas. Issoire : Art.C, 2002
  • Va-et-vient, Come and Go

    Text: Éric de Chassey, Timo Vuorikoski, Bernard Piffaretti, Catherine Perret et Raphael Rubinstein. Ed.: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2000
  • Text: Emmanuel Latreille, Jean-Philippe Vienne, Christian Bernard, Jean-Marc Huitorel et Bernard Piffaretti. Ed.: Frac Bourgogne, Dijon / La Box, Bourges, 1998
  • Tableaux 1982-1990

    Text: Christian Bernard, Werner Meyer. Ed.: Villa Arson, 1991