© New York, Matthew Marks Gallery

Martin Barre - L’Indissociable / The Inseparable - Through 02 March 2024

Matthew Marks Gallery
523 West 24th Street
New York


Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Martin Barré: L’Indissociable / The Inseparable, the next exhibition in his gallery at 523 West 24th Street. The exhibition presents for the first time in the United States Martin Barré’s L’Indissociable / The Inseparable (1977–78), a set of fourteen paintings that make up the artist’s largest single artwork.

Martin Barré (1924–1993) is known for his pioneering, conceptual approach to painting. Beginning in the 1950s, Barré rejected the gestural abstraction of his peers and began developing his own systems-based compositional methods. Patterns and geometric principles helped define his paintings, which adhered to a set of self-prescribed rules. “I don’t paint to convey my moods,” Barré said, “I use a rule and only transgress it when the painting calls for it.”

Each painting in L’Indissociable / The Inseparable offers a variation on a single geometric principle, defined by diagonal lines and parallel bands of color at a fixed angle. The fourteen canvases are installed at a prescribed height and distance from each other and the paintings function both as a series and a polyptych, two compositional methods with which Barré started working in the late 1950s. L’Indissociable / The Inseparable is the only series the artist conceived of as indivisible from its beginning. As Yve-Alain Bois has written, L’Indissociable / The Inseparable “is a hybrid form that breeds two distinct structures of fragmentation and reunification.”

Martin Barré exhibited his work regularly throughout Europe from the mid-1950s onward. His paintings were included in the 1961 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh and the 1964 and 1978 Venice Biennales. The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes organized a career retrospective in 1989, and in 1993 his paintings from the 1980s were the subject of an exhibition at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. In 2020, the Centre Pompidou in Paris organized his first posthumous retrospective exhibition.

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