Daniel Dezeuze – a retrospective
28 October 2017 - 28 January 2018

The museum of Grenoble will present this winter Daniel Dezeuze – a retrospective. Conceived in close collaboration with the artist, it will evoke more than fifty years of creation, from its first works in the mid-1960s to its most recent sculptures, to works that marked its participation in the movement supports / Surfaces.

As a founding member in 1970 of Supports / Surfaces, Daniel Dezeuze poses with the group the question of the future of painting and its role in capitalist society. In parallel with an important theoretical activity, he then worked to expose the painting and, in so doing, to a certain demystification of painting, a process initiated in 1967 with his first Chassis (a wooden frame presented as such, leaning against the wall) and continued in the early 1970s with the Ladders (made of soft wood strips) and, starting in 1975, with the Triangulations and the Timberings.

The 1980s marked an important turning point in his research with the introduction into his universe of objects such as doors or fragments of assembled objects that look like weapons. These new elements open up a more figurative field in his work and mark a reinvestment of the manual approach in the elaboration of forms.

In fact, the artist, with the ensembles that he subsequently realizes, and which he calls Objects of Picking and Receptacles, appropriates certain modes of creation linked to the universe of gardens and forests, an archaic, almost artisanal, and from poor materials. Over the decades, these new components intertwine with the geometrical structures of its beginnings, creating little by little an indefinable work, in a space between painting and sculpture, where post-minimalist structures and elements of raw art come together, and where, ultimately, only the freedom and poetic inspiration of the artist prevail. This is particularly evident in the field of drawing that Daniel Dezeuze regularly practices since the 1970s. There, his great technical mastery is effaced by the pure expression of the trait and the deployment of his power to create a pattern, a space, a world. Nevertheless, a few themes emerge gradually from this work, the recurring theme of the chassis / screen, the mental and material projection of the memory of the painting, that of nature in an approach referring to the agricultural world, medieval reverie, that of arms and coats of arms, and through the prism of architecture in particular, that of the religious.

Based on a very precise selection of works recounting the main stages of Daniel Dezeuze’s work, this retrospective will enable us to grasp both the complexity and the coherence of the artist’s approach over more than five decades. It will also highlight the singular place it occupies in the context of plastic creation in France during this period, and the importance it assumes – by the very modesty of its means – in illustrating the capacity of the art to move while enriching the vision and the understanding of the world.

Curator: Guy Tosatto, director of the museum of Grenoble and Sophie Bernard, curator in charge of modern and contemporary collections