The Fine Arts Museum in Angers
(France) is presenting an exhibition devoted to artist Daniel Tremblay (1950-1985) through 3 May 2009. Tremblay's career began in 1980 at the Paris Biennale and terminated with his accidental death in 1985, at the age of thirty-five. During those five years he produced over 130 drawings, sculptures, low reliefs and installations.
After graduating from art school in Angers, Tremblay studied at the Royal College of Art in London in 197578. At this time young UK artists like Bill Woodrow and David Mach were working prolifically outside the prevailing systems in ways that testified to the vitality and diversity of a new generation. Tremblay was one of the few French artists to commit himself to this adventure, drawing from the British approach a taste for sculpture and a humour in striking contrast with what was happening in France at the time. His work revolved around subversive play with unremarkable materials slate, rubber, carpeting and everyday items like brushes, beads, shoes and doormats. Each of his dense, inventive works recounted some small, private story.
His primary concerns were walls and space, and he described himself as a sculptor of "low reliefs". On the walls he placed outlines of figures, faces drawn on rugs, and stardust, projecting us into a poetry-imbued world via subtle works shot through with gentle mockery. "I think," he once said, "there's an element of mockery in the use of objects, and mockery has always been a key concern in my work."
This exhibition comprises 35 major works from public collections in France and abroad, including the Fine Arts Museum in Angers, the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris, the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Ludwig Museum im Deutschherrenhaus in Coblenz, Germany. Among the works is a replica of The Last Wave, an installation created in 1984 at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla; the core element of the work, a polystyrene head covered with postcards was donated to the museum in 2005 by Carol Moreau, the artist's companion. A further donation of seven major works and the contents of Tremblay's studio came from Farideh Cadot, the gallerist to whom the artist had always remained faithful. The exhibition is rounded off by an extract devoted to Daniel Tremblay from Heinz-Peter Schwerfel's film Peinture Fraîche, Made in France (1985).