Daniel Buren

Works from the Collection Lambert

25 September 2021 – 23 January 2022

Yvon Lambert: “[My first meeting with Daniel Buren in 1968] was very powerful. At the time I was really dazzled by [his] intelligence. I bought my first works of his as early as 1969. We organised several exhibitions, impossible to sell, of course. […] We debated a lot, together with Michel Claura and René Denizot, but there were not that many battles surrounding his work because it only rarely sparked interest in the occasional visitor. I like controversy, and I would have liked the opportunity to have more arguments at the time. I also liked the paradox of exhibiting unsellable work in a commercial gallery.”

Since the mid-1960s, Daniel Buren has been engaged in a radical painting practice which has become the basis for further critical questioning of the conventions of traditional media and of the artistic establishment in general. 

In 1965, he began a series of pieces based on canvases covered with alternating white and coloured stripes, whose white borders he covered with paint. Like Niele Toroni, Olivier Mosset and Michel Parmentier, with whom he shared exhibition spaces for a time, he put forward what he called a “degree zero” of painting. Through this radical, repeated gesture, which symbolises art in its entirety, the artist followed in the wake of Roland Barthes’ reflections on Writing Degree Zero and The Death of the Author which, by calling into question the concept of an author and the importance attributed to the figure of the artist, invited the spectator, or reader, to take part in the sensory experience in an emancipated way. 

Each of Daniel Buren’s works, whether located in museums, galleries, or public spaces, attaches fundamental importance to its context and surroundings. Hence the artist’s explanation that he does not merely exhibit stripes, but site-specific stripes. By combining apparent simplicity and subversive power with an acute awareness of the places he exhibits in, the artist provokes an essential calling into question of the experience of the work and the space it inhabits. 

Curator : Stéphane Ibars