Fuck Abstraction, this is the title of the work by Miriam Cahn presented at the Palais de Tokyo representing a scene of fellatio. This provocation in conquered land sounded hollow until a “gentleman of a certain age” gave it some consistency by vandalizing it with mauve paint.
Figurative Fuck, could have been called the contemporary and monumental work installed at the entrance to the Musée d’Orsay. Indeed, with its dozens of white canvases, of different sizes and formats, it seems to provoke the international crowd of tourists eager for figures, speaking, meaningful, erotic-historical, mythical-social representations. Designed according to The Gate of Hell of Rodin, this work by Claude Rutault, entitled The door of painting, is one of the many tributes paid to the artist who passed away last year. It’s not a provocation, the master of mischievous abstraction has never poured into it, he was and remains too radical for that.
Did I already say here that there is no work of art of any importance that does not raise the question of art? Did I say that this also applies to literature, cinema, music? Well that also goes for painting. Rutault threw abstraction into the delicious abyss of conceptual art, the kind that never ceases to pose the question of art. He was the great master of the art of asking the question of art.
It happened like Newton’s apple, Soulages’ light, one day Claude Rutault had the revelation of the fact that what is called a painting, in museums, galleries, bourgeois interiors, is before a whole canvas stretched on a frame, and painted. Simplicity is difficult to admit because it blinds the eye, illuminates the mind with a pitiless light. From there, defying the history of art, Rutault puts his axiom (chassis-canvas-paint) into action by creating a series of works that represent nothing other than themselves and are defined than by their method of manufacture. He calls them “de-finitions/methods”. First of them, “a canvas stretched on a frame painted the same color as the wall on which it is hung. All the standard formats available can be used, whether rectangular, square, round or oval. The hanging is traditional”.
Over time, Rutault’s “d/f” have multiplied and become more complex, mobilizing buyers in the process of their creation. This is how a friend of Dora has just acquired from a collector on boulevard Richard-Lenoir, who had himself bought it from an art lover in Aubigny-sur-Nère, etc., a work by Rutault whose surface, reduced as it should be according to the distance separating the successive owners of the work, measures no more than one square meter. But its shape and color being left to the discretion of each purchaser, the clever friend divided the surface of the canvas into 49 small canvas frames painted white (including the cartel), which he arranged in three lines, such as characters of a binary writing composing a sentence whose decryption should never be written but transmitted orally. The result, because it also matters, is stunningly beautiful, mathematically elegant.
Occurred on May 27, 2022, the disappearance of Rutault caused a crash in the art world inversely proportional to the silence that the global world reserved for him. And now he imposes on posterity a definition and a method to laugh out loud: the incognito is everywhere! At the Louvre, at Orsay, at Beaubourg, at Perrotin, he is even at the MAM so much do we love him.
The value of his works, dislocated by the ingenuity of the various protocols, plays with the art market, evolving according to criteria that make the jubilation of owners who form a kind of art friendship that makes you happy.