Karsten Greve

Pierrette Bloch

08 Jan - 21 Feb 2015

© Pierrette Bloch
Sans titre / Untitled, 2014
Charcoal and pastel on tracing paper
75 x 110 cm / 29.5 x 43.3 in
Œuvres récentes
8 January – 21 February 2015

For its third exhibition devoted to Pierrette Bloch, Galerie Karsten Greve has selected recent works that are emblematic of the artist's approach. Born in Paris in 1928, Pierrette Bloch developed her research around abstract work closely linked to the practice of drawing, collage and sculpture characterised by 'paper lines' and her famous horsehair sculptures. The exhibition is devoted mainly to works on paper created between 2010 and 2014. Œuvres récentes (Recent works) follows the major monographic exhibitions that the Pfalzgalerie Kauserslautern Museum in Germany and the Jenisch Museum in Vevey in Switzerland have recently devoted to Pierrette Bloch, paying tribute to the artist in her hometown.

Pierrette Bloch experiments with surfaces that she invests as a real terrain, marked by the deployment of time. Giving shape to a time that is both subjective and universal, her drawings cover the surface of the paper like her knitted sculptures, evolving on it more expansively than the space itself. Since the beginning of Pierrette Bloch's approach, the practice of drawing appears as a fundamental element in her research, punctuating the sheet with traces of her wandering gestures, the artist thus conceiving an abstraction intimately linked to the question of pace and variation. By evoking the primordial notions of silence and waiting, her works seem to support a certain mistrust for the word and proclaim in favour of the fragment and the act of observation freed of any judgment.

The exhibition consists of works of various techniques on black, brown or tracing paper, with the drawings done in oil pastel, pencil, chalk and charcoal. The diversity of compositions correspond to different states of mind: translated into more or less dense loops, into vertical segments or dots, the presence of the artist gives life to the compositions and to different rhythms. Without ever having joined any artistic movement, Pierrette Bloch interprets action in the simplest and most minimalist manner: a dot, a line, a trace that reveals the gesture and the history. As of 1993, this approach led the artist to deploying long horizontal strips of paper referred to as 'paper lines'. These rolls of variable width and length consist of dots and brush strokes juxtaposed rhythmically. One after another they create what Pierrette Bloch calls a place of uncertainty wherein again, we must allow ourselves to drift.

In her recent drawings we find traces of this research around repetition, rhythm and cadence that is one of the founding aspects of Pierrette Bloch's work. Marking the support with India ink, oil or dry pastel, pencil, charcoal or chalk, the finger-brush strokes are translated as a bodily extension of the actions that are unique each time. This is not to reduce duplication to an eternal tautology: more than reproducing the same module infinitely, dots and lines are rather alliterations, whose punctual cadence contributes to the harmony of the whole.

Since the 1970s, the practice of Pierrette Bloch has led her to discover a material that would become one of the symbols of her work: horsehair yarn. A natural material that is neither precious nor noble, horsehair is fabric, pulled and twisted by hands that are sensitive to the repetition of the gesture. Freeing the line from the two-dimensionality to which it seemed she was destined, Pierrette Bloch made her first sculptures in horsehair in 1979. Knitted into fine lines or in denser mesh, the horsehair is embroidered on a long nylon line that can be several metres long. More or less "hairy" - to paraphrase Pierrette Bloch - but rigorously detached from the wall and accompanied by its own shadow like an echo, each line is the embodiment of a silent and inscrutable language.

Born in 1928 in Paris, Pierrette Bloch lives and works in Paris and Bages (Aude, France). She studied with André Lhote and Henri Goetz from 1947 to 1948. She held her first exhibition at the Mai Gallery in Paris in 1951. In 2005 the Pro-MAHJ Foundation awarded her the Maratier prize. Pierrette Bloch's works are present in the most important international public collections including the MoMA in New York, the Yokohama Museum of Art in Japan, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Maeght Foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the Museum of Art and History of Judaism, the Pompidou Centre, the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, MAMCO (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) in Geneva and the Museum Eilat in Israel. In 2014 she was featured in the monograph exhibitions Pierrette Bloch – Punkt, Linie, Poesie at the Pfalzgalerie Museum in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Pierrette Bloch: L’intervalle at the Jenisch Museum in Vevey, Switzerland.

Tags: Pierrette Bloch