Can still lifes, portraits, and landscape painting be contemporary? The artist Nicolas Party (* 1980 in Lausanne) offers proof that they can, and has created a work that examines painting and its history down to the smallest detail: How is light generated in a picture? How do colors work together? What effects can individual brushstrokes have?
Painting in Space
It is not only the basic elements of painting that interest the artist, but also their reception. Party extends his painting across the entire exhibition space. Canvases are painted along with the walls and ceilings. This quickly reveals the significance that the surroundings, the architectural and institutional context, have for viewing pictures.
In landscape painting he is less concerned with the precise depiction of nature than with transforming it through material, color, and composition. In his fairytale-like, surreal imagery, he builds up tension between representation and abstraction, observation and imagination. He has developed a recognizable style that is characterized by bright colors, two-dimensionality, and graphic elements. Time and again, he crosses over into the decorative.
Past and Future
Party’s pictures make their art-historical influences very visible, from medieval art to 19th- and 20th-century painters such as Giorgio Morandi, Ferdinand Hodler, and René Magritte: “If you decide to paint an apple, you enter into a dialogue with everyone who has ever painted an apple—and there are many“, says Party. And so his works shift between times, nostalgic and futuristic at the same time.
Nicolas Party’s work has been shown in exhibitions at venues including M WOODS in Beijing (2018), the Magritte Museum in Brussels (2018), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (2017), the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2016), and Kunsthall Stavanger in Norway (2014).
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