February 14, 2015 - Frac Franche-Comté - The Repetition and Bernard Piffaretti
February 14, 2015

The Repetition and Bernard Piffaretti

Jana Sterbak, Sisyphus, 1998. Bernard Piffaretti, Sans titre, 2005.*

La Répétition (The Repetition)
Bernard Piffaretti: Fair return (of things and words)

15 February–17 May 2015

Opening: 14 February, 6pm  

Frac Franche-Comté
Cité des arts
2 passage des arts
25000 Besançon

contact [​at​] frac-franche-comte.fr


Time is a physical quantity that is measured by using, in particular, the repetition of periodical natural phenomena of known duration, such as the alternation of day and night, the cycle of the seasons or the phases of the moon. Yet, as everyone knows, the perception of time is also a matter of personal experience. An understanding of it entails the convergence of complex psychological, physiological or cultural data. The notions of frequency and periodicity are no exception to this rule. This is why the Frac Franche-Comté, which has built up its collection and exhibition scheduling around the issue of Time, is now hosting two shows devoted to repetition. 

The first, thematic in nature, bears the simple title La Répétition; the second, monographic and titled Fair return (of things and words), is dedicated to the artist Bernard Piffaretti, several of whose works feature in the Frac’s collection.

La Répétition
Sachiko Abe, Marina Abramovic, Francis Alÿs, Claude Closky, Jimmie Durham, Esther Ferrer, Augustin Lesage, Steve McQueen, Bruce Nauman, Roman Opalka, Régis Perray, Magali Sanheira, Alain Séchas, Pierrick Sorin, Jana Sterbak

Repetition is the subject of conflicting or even ambivalent appraisals and this is probably why it is so fascinating and thrilling. Not only for researchers in the medical field, physics, psychology or neurology; it also enthuses philosophers, writers or choreographers—and of course visual artists who have taken hold of it with ‘increasing frequency’ since the early 20th century.     

In the works showcased at this exhibition—tailor-made for the occasion or mainly taken from public collections—repetition is manifested in almost mechanical frequency. The creative act is tedious, laborious, jerky and monotonous. It often appears unnecessary or even absurd.And yet these works pertain equally to tragedy and ritual, or even child’s play; they are both burlesque and relate to the relentless discipline of martial arts. They are indicative of the way in which we consider our own bodies in today’s society. They remind us of our own condition. And they speak volumes about the function of art and the position of the artist who, by choosing this method, ranges between self-deprecation, surpassing individual limits and detachment.
Bernard Piffaretti, Fair return (of things and words)
If there is one painter of repetition, it is indisputably Bernard Piffaretti. His method can be summed up in a few words: since the mid 1980s he has duplicated the same motif on either side of a central vertical line drawn in advance to divide the canvas. In doing so the artist is imposing a constraint upon himself, a rule of the game that affords him the distance he needs to concentrate on his real purpose: painting itself. For the current exhibition, Bernard Piffaretti has chosen to bring together for the first time a large group of paintings produced between 1986 and 2014. All of them “thematise the process of repetition with the exclusive or almost exclusive aid of words and linguistic signs.” The artist calls these paintings “Metapaintings”, i.e. paintings on painting, paintings “speaking” of painting. 

Curated by: Sylvie Zavatta, Director of Frac Franche-Comté

The Fonds régional d’art contemporain of Franche-Comté is one of the 23 Frac created in 1982 to disseminate contemporary art within each region of France. The Frac have three complementary missions: to collect the art of our times, to take it out into the public, and to educate people about art. The Frac Franche-Comté builds and manages a public collection of contemporary art assembling 572 works by 291 artistes. Since 2006 the collection has focused on works investigating the broad question of time, this issue being a perennial theme in art history, as well as a topical concern, rooted in the region’s history. Since 2011, within this collection of works exploring the notion of time, the Frac has sought to develop an area devoted to so-called “sound” works.

The Frac opened the doors of its new building designed by Kengo Kuma within the Cité des Arts in Besançon, France on 2013.

Press contact
Domna Kossyfidou: T +33 (0) 3 81 87 87 50 / domna.kossyfidou [​at​] frac-franche-comte.fr

*Image: In order of appearance: Jana Sterbak, Sisyphus, 1998. Collection Frac Haute-Normandie. © Jana Sterbak. Photo: Marc Domage. Bernard Piffaretti, Sans titre, 2005. © Bernard Piffaretti / Adagp, Paris, 2015. Courtesy the artist, galerie frank elbaz, Paris; Cherry & Martin, Los Angeles and Galerie Klemm’s, Berlin.

Frac Franche-Comté presents The Repetition and Bernard Piffaretti
Frac Franche-Comté
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