Daniel Buren is currently one of the most important artists both in France and internationally. For more than 40 years, each of his exhibitions throughout the world has elicited attention. The latest exhibition "ECHOS, Work in situ" is on view until September 9th, 2011 at the Centre Pompidou-Metz
The Centre Pompidou-Metz has, since 2009, formed a privileged relationship with Daniel Buren, first initiating projects for its pre-inauguration Constellation event: 5610 flammes colorées pour un arc-en-ciel, a site-specific work on Rue Serpenoise in Metz, and Couleurs superposées, Acte XIII, a performance he directed at the Metz Metropolitan Opera and Theatre in September 2009.
A year after its opening, the Centre Pompidou-Metz has invited Daniel Buren to produce a project for Galerie 3, in a joint initiative with the Mudam Luxembourg, Musée dArt Moderne Grand-Duc Jean. Buren has created a site-specific piece for the Mudams Grand Hall, entitled Architecture, contre-architecture: transposition (9 October 2010 22 May 2011).
This invitation will then be taken up at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, with two spectacular works which Buren has created specifically for Galerie 3.
Daniel Burens works reveal, question and transform the properties of the spaces they occupy. Échos, works in situ takes over the most impressive gallery by the architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines. This 80-meter long gallery has been divided in half by a new wall, which is shown as an integral part of the proposed composition.
In one part of the gallery, Les cabanes éclatées imbriquées, work in situ, forms sites within sites, places within places 1. The viewer is invited to explore this transient architecture whose multiple viewpoints fragment the space.
The other part, La Ville empruntée, multipliée et fragmentée: work in situ, provides a counterpoint to the view across the city. Daniel Buren uses the picture window and the landscape beyond it and, through a set of mirrors, fragments and multiplies them to infinity. He specifies that using a mirror makes it more obvious that any work is but a mere fragment of a whole 2.
Daniel Buren was born in 1938 in Boulogne-Billancourt. After training at the École des Métiers dArt in Paris from 1957 to 1960, and a short spell at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, also in Paris, he embarked on numerous experiments involving painting, sculpture and film. From the first pictorial works of 1960, he rapidly adopted an economy of means which already emphasised the neutralising of paintings illusionist content and indifference to the narrative subject, both central to his approach.
From December 1966 to September 1967, Buren worked with the painters Olivier Mosset, Michel Parmentier, and Niele Toroni for a series of group events. Their joint practice was based upon systematic repetition of a single motif and the wish of each, in their own way, to paint the last painting.
This shortlived association - which critics later, erroneously, dubbed BMPT - placed itself in radical opposition to the highly academic artistic environment that prevailed in Paris, dominated by the École de Paris. The four artists turned this environment upside-down with projects that gave rise to heated debate. This joint work took the form of a critical instrument which enabled Buren to examine not just the physical limits of painting, but also the political and cultural limits of the art world.
This degree zero of painting, far from signifying to him an end to art, instead became the point of departure for his approach.