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Spotlight

Louis Cane

Ceysson & Bénétière, Paris, H7

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Louis Cane, Toile découpée, 1972, Spray paint on fabric, 202 ×  × 265 cm, Courtesy of Ceysson & Bénétière, © Aurélien Mole

Louis Cane, Toile découpée, 1972, Spray paint on fabric, 202 ×  × 265 cm, Courtesy of Ceysson & Bénétière, © Aurélien Mole

For Spotlight, Ceysson & Bénétière presents ‘Persistent Vision’, a solo presentation by Louis Cane (Beaulieu-sur-Mer, 1943).

Cane had his first exhibition in 1969 (Givaudan, Paris), which consisted of a group of un-stretched canvases (sheets, in fact), marked only by continuous rubber stampings of his name. He concluded this exercise in personal branding with the insolently tautological series Louis Cane artiste peintre français.

By 1970 Cane was done with youthful irony, inaugurating a genre of toiles découpées (cut-out paintings), which he would develop for several years. Like Jackson Pollock or Helen Frankenthaler, Cane painted on un-stretched canvas on the ground. The source of his inspiration was the avant-garde critic Clement Greenberg whose writings he encountered in the cutting-edge, radical magazine Peinture: cahiers théoriques. Cane incises into his canvases, producing flaps that open spaces on the walls. These spaces are not part of the paintings yet remains integral to how they are seen. Thus, his paintings, which interact with both the floor plane and the wall, investigate the space of non-representation (what is cut out) and integrate it within the painting.

Last century, paintings of this kind were interpreted as a formalist realization of praxis. Today we are more tempted to admire their economy of means and visual polyvalence. Back then, Cane sought to exceed the conventions of traditional, Renaissance perspective through art historical and theoretical research. Today only the painting endures, and with it the work’s persisting pertinence.

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