Ron Gorchov Alain Kirili The Animating Hand from 19th October to 30th December 2009
Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard is pleased to present a joint exhibition by Ron Gorchov and Alain Kirili from 19th October to 30th December. This exhibition not only celebrates a long lasting friendship between the two artists which began when Kirili moved to New York in the seventies, but also a great artistic understanding between a painter and a sculptor. Both are abstract artists who create shapes of organic simplicity and for whom the trace of the artist’s own gesture is extremely important. The works possess a tactile and sensuous quality revealing their relationship with the body which becomes the most important point of reference.
One may be surprised to find themselves talking about a tactile and sensuous relationship with regards to a painting. It has partly to do with the gently curved shapes of the canvas stretched over the wooden curves of the frame. But it also has to do with the way in which Gorchov paints : his use of very liquid paint, the effect produced by superimposing various different layers, the thick brushstrokes, the rough quality of the edges where the canvas is attached to the frame, the simple and gentle shapes in the center of the paintings… Ron Gorchov inserts similar abstract shapes into various different curved spaces. The smaller the work, the more exaggerated the curve. Whilst inventing curved frames in the sixties, Ron Gorchov revolutionized painting by introducing it into a three dimensional space without creating any kind of illusionism. For more than forty years he has been a pioneer of aesthetic experimentation with the insertion of shapes and textures into curved spaces. The combination of the canvas’ physical depth and the painting’s illusionist quality provides us with an entirely new set visual experiences. Ron Gorchov is one of the most highly esteemed artists amongst his contemporaries in New York. In the painting Martha, the background color is a mixture of white and green. On the right hand side the green dominates, being the darkest background color. The painting was exhibited in a room where the natural light came from the left, from a distance it was therefore difficult to discern whether the right-hand side of the painting was actually a darker color or if it was simply in shadow. The visual effects of both painting and sculpture in Martha work together to strengthen one another. In the big picture Café Serin, we find entirely the opposite effect. A pale yellow circular shape stands out from a dark blue background, the inner part of the yellow circle is then a lighter blue. The result is an optical allusion which gives depth to the inner light blue section, pushing it further away from us even though in physical terms it is in fact at the front of the painting. The effects of paint and sculpture therefore oppose one another and it is interesting to note that it is the painting that triumphs over the physical reality of the curved frame.
Alain Kirili was keen to start up a dialogue between his and Ron Gorchov’s work. Yet again he demonstrates his enthusiasm for artistic meetings and exchanges, whether they be with masters of fine art or of music and dance… This too shows his intellectual engagement which has always lead to a better appreciation of the artists he holds in great esteem. Over the past few years, Alain Kirili’s works have tended towards a greater organic simplicity and lightness of form. In this exhibition he presents three series of sculptures as well as some drawings : the terra cotta works of the Adamah series, the ironwork sculptures of the Equivalence series and the Funambule series. The title of the Equivalences sculptures is inspired by the fact that they can each be exhibited in three different positions. They are « minimalist » geometric shapes brought together in such an innovative way that it is always possible to find three positions of balance. These works imply notions of movement, improvisation, precariousness and lightness. In the new works of Funambule this idea is pushed even further and these characteristics become evermore apparent. For Kirili the title is reminiscent of a book by Jean Genet that discusses the ethics of risk in the Creation. The groups of vertical bars which alternate with both raw and painted ironwork placed against a wall with different spacing between each one develop a unique pattern. The metal is pounded in such a way that it appears to have been molded by the palm of a hand. Even as Kirili delves into the depths of visual simplicity, sensuality, body and flesh impregnate his works. When talking about Kirili’s iron bars which he places against the wall, Carter Ratcliff comments that « They are free to fall, and in this freedom one hears an echo of Existentialist talk about the precariousness of life. Of course, Existentialism was grim – a philosophy of angst. If the Funambule sculptures express angst, it is angst evolving into joy at the sheer clarity of their forms, their situation, and, indeed, their meaning.» (1)
(1) Carter Ratcliff : The Animating Hand : The Art of Ron Gorchov and Alain Kirili ; exhibition brochure published by Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard ; text in French and in English.