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Catch as catch can: Works in situ by Daniel Buren on view at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Daniel Buren, Catch as catch can: work in situ, 2014. BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, 10 mirrors framed with white opaque vinyl, transparent vinyl (7 colours) on skylights. Photo: Colin Davison. © DB-ADAGP Paris.
GATESHEAD.- BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead presents the work of Daniel Buren (born Boulogne-Billancourt, 1938), widely considered to be France’s greatest living artist and one of the most influential and important figures in contemporary art for the last 50 years. Buren has exhibited in many of the world’s major art institutions and realised numerous external commissions. This summer at BALTIC, Buren will transform the building’s west façade into a kaleidoscope of colour, visible inside and out. He will also show new and existing work in the Level 3 and 4 galleries, including a major large-scale commission for Level 4.

In the 1960s Buren developed a radical form of conceptual art, a ‘degree zero of painting’, creating works which draw attention to the relationship between art and context. He abandoned traditional painting and adopted the 8.7 cm wide vertical stripe, used as a ‘visual tool’ to prompt a reading of the work’s surroundings rather than just the work itself. Made with paint, fabric, paper and tape, among other materials, the stripes appear in his interventions in galleries, museums, and public sites. For almost four decades, Buren has chosen to make work in situ, responding to a particular location, and colouring the spaces in which they are created.

While the stripes have remained a recognisable and intrinsic element of Buren’s practice, recently his works have become more sculptural and architectural in form. The artist’s installation Excentrique(s), at the Grand Palais in Paris, commissioned for MONUMENTA 2012, comprised a series of raised, coloured circular structures covering the 13,500 m² nave and providing a ‘ceiling’ that could be walked under. At BALTIC, Buren will stage a large- scale intervention, colouring the windows of the building’s west façade and saturating its interior with swathes of coloured light, pouring into the spaces and passageways. The whole building will become a spectacular artwork for visitors to experience with each encounter changing according to the time of day and the intensity of the light flooding through.

In BALTIC’s Level 3 gallery, Buren presents a selection of rarely seen reliefs, paintings and sculptures from the past seven years alongside three new works made especially for the exhibition. Luminous fibre optic works from the artist’s Electric Light series (2011) continue his preoccupation with form, space, light and colour. Other works made with paint, fibreboard and tape play with depth, surface and architecture provide further insight into the breadth of Buren’s practice. Working with the architecture of BALTIC’s Level 4, Buren has realised an ambitious intervention which explores and responds to the remarkable volume and scale of the gallery space. A series of large sculptural mirrors will reflect and refract light from coloured windows above, creating an immersive environment which shifts throughout the day.

Daniel Buren was born in Boulogne-Billancourt in 1938. He has been the subject of retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2005) and the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2002). His work is also included in prestigious private and public collections worldwide. Buren has exhibited at the Venice Biennale more than 10 times and was awarded the Golden Lion for his French Pavilion in 1986. That same year, he produced his first and most controversial public commission, The Two Plateaux, for the main courtyard of the Palais-Royal in Paris. In 2007, he received the Praemium Imperiale for Painting from Japan. Most recently, he was selected to exhibit at MONUMENTA 2012 at the Grand Palais in Paris.

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