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The Liberation of painting

Questionning Space and Formats

After the Second World War, many artists rethought their prac- tice by redefining the space and format of their paintings.

Some reconsidered their very manner of painting, by reducing the means used. Martin Barré for example favoured the reduction of materials, colour and form. From the mid-1950s onwards, he produced works by superimposing layers of paint that seemed to want to extend beyond the limits of the work. The pictorial matter was not applied uniformly but scraped so that the background and form merged, eliminating any effect of depth or perspective. This penchant for the construction of the pictorial space may also be found in the work of Maria Helena Vieira da Silva. Jean Degottex chose to privilege the gesture and its force, while considering its relationship to writing and space. Others, on the contrary, such as Emilio Vedova, rethought the format of their works, which underwent a new expansion. Painted by the Italian artist in 1959, the large triptych (275 x 444 cm) presented in this chapter is emblematic of this period where Vedova increased the space of his painting, giving the impression of an explosion where streaks, projections and marks collide in a chaotic and monumental all-over. 


Martin BARRÉ

57-50-B, 1957
Huile sur toile
89 x 116 cm

Inv. FGA-BA-BARRE-0001 © Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Genève.
© ADAGP, Paris, 2020
Scontro di Situazioni


Scontro di Situazioni [Conflit de situations], 1959 
Détrempe vinylique, huile, sable, charbon et poudre de pigments sur toile
275 x 444 cm

Inv. FGA-BA-VEDOV-0001 © Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Genève.
© ADAGP, Paris, 2020