November 23 - January 26, 2008
Peintures & bronzes
galerie jerome de noirmont

exhibition release

This fourth personal exhibition by Penck at the gallery will see his most recent works unveiled, just a few weeks before the beginning of the great retrospective dedicated to him by the Paris Museum of Modern Art, from February 14 through May 12, 2008. During his last exhibition at the gallery in 2003, entitled Ereignisse im Unbekannten (Events in the Unknown), Penck’s interest was mainly in the composition of the painting, in which rational explanation disappeared for an increasing desire for abstraction. Today, Penck takes this idea even further and marks a real turning point in his pictorial expression.

The analysis and representation of the relationship between signs, symbols and figures go forward, with the FIGURE itself, more abstract, more composed and more complex becoming a form.
Groups of ideas, feelings and experiences appear like synthetic figures, in the same way as scenes, landscapes and still lives. The band of time moves slowly from UR to END, so that we see the composition of a structure made of signals, which take the shape of a figure, in which the contrasts are minimized or maximized and the palette is reduced to a few basic colors. (Penck, September 2007)
Through 24 new paintings displayed, Penck moves away from any conceptions that are either illusionists or too close to the real and evolves into synthetic figures and landscapes, reduced to a set of abstract forms in a deliberately primitive graphic style, thus showing a clearly visible difference with his former paintings.

This abstraction in the work is accompanied by more complex forms and an increased visual presence of signs and symbols; forms and signs are thus mixed in with relationships of scale that are sometimes reduced and sometimes enlarged, creating a structure that covers every corner of the canvas. Color appears here as an essential component of the overall abstract structure. Taken from a reduced palette dominated by basic colors and a few other very strong tones, color interferes in the relationship between signs and forms. It sometimes marks the contours, thus making it easier to understand the work, or, on the contrary, it overlaps their graphic structure into another colored composition, which has been superimposed on that of the overall drawing, thus adding to the complexity of the work.

As always with Penck, there are many sources of inspiration and these are a mix of reality, thoughts and feelings, often within the same work. This lack of delimitation in the subject between reality, thought and feeling is seen in the artist’s wish not to decide between figuration and abstraction, often moving from one to the other. Though, in his visual searches, Penck has always remained attached to the figure, he has never been a total slave to it and has often gone to the limits of abstraction, as in certain series of paintings in the ‘70s that he produced under the pseudonym TM. Today, in his latest creations, he makes the increasingly synthetic figure evolve more and more towards the form, i.e. towards its structural essence. Thus the paintings, always titled, continue to evoke a reality, as, for Penck, abstraction is not a form of negation but a different, deeper exploration of things.

The 4 bronze sculptures that will be exhibited will enable us to gain a clearer view of this strong desire to reach and reveal the essential. Though older, dating from 1993 to 1998, they show us that Penck’s sculpture has evolved steadily since 1977 towards abstraction, faster and further than his paintings. For Penck, who considers himself as both a painter and a sculptor, offers himself two different ways of understanding the world and the reality that surrounds him. Sculpture is for him an autonomous experience, another means of expression, which nevertheless reveals the same quest, as the one defined by Paul Klee: Art does not reproduce the visible, it makes things visible.

A catalogue will be published for this exhibition, available from November 22 on. French/English text by Eric Troncy.

PRESS CONTACT : Emmanuelle de Noirmont / Ludyvine Travers-Pitrou
Tel : + 33 (0)1 42 89 89 00 / Fax : +33 (0)1 42 89 89 03 / e-mail :
Gallery closed from December 23 to January 1st, 2008.
IMAGES 300 dpi available on our website / access codes on request at the gallery.