Born in 1955 in Saint-Etienne, France Lives and works in Paris
Since 1986 Piffaretti has committed his practice to the “duplication method” or “Piffaretti system”, abstract paintings that appear to be two identical halves, split through the vertical axis. One of the two parts is an attempt to duplicate the other, made beforehand. Once both panels are finished, the distinction between the copy and the original tends to fade. As the artist admits himself, “the repetition, act by act, on the second half of the canvas, can only produce an imperfect image”. Closer inspection does indeed reveal moments of differentiation: the inclination of the brushstrokes, the number of drips, the weight of the hue. “The duplication clouds the origin of the time of the work. All supremacy is abolished, and that is the subject of my painting”.
While the duplication method is a statement of conceptual rigour, it also draws attention to the gestural qualities of the paintings; the matching sides encourage us to examine the subtle nuances between the two halves. The paintings often have a vertical spine, hiding in plain sight down the centre of the canvas. Piffaretti calls attention to this spine by shifting its tone or hue in a direction that skews the palette established in rest of the painting. He not only uses the technique as a compositional tool but also as an instrument to trigger action; the colours, shapes and lines subsequently move, repeat and rotate on the canvas. Furthermore, the system allows him to exhibit the simple yet essential principles of painting. In some works, the second part is even left irremediably blank, showing us this impossible reproduction of the artistic gesture.
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 180 x 180 cm (70 7/8 x 70 7/8 in.) PIF2019-2249
Acteur is Bernard Piffarettiʼs 4th solo exhibition at galerie frank elbaz. In 2019, he had solo shows at Klemm's, Berlin, Lisson Gallery New York and at the Kate MacGarry Gallery in London. In January 2022, he will participate in a great group exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington DC.
Since 1990, he has had major exhibitions at museums and galleries in France and abroad. His works can be found in the collections of the Centre Pompidou - Musée national d'art moderne, Mamco Geneva, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Saint-Etienne, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes and Fondation Cartier pour lʼart contemporain, Paris.
Bernard Piffaretti Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 110 x 110 cm (42 1/4 x 43 1/4 in.) PIF2019-2243