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Robert Ryman the exhibition at the Orangerie

Categories : Exhibition, published on : 3/24/24

"Robert Ryman: The Act of Looking" is the first major exhibition dedicated to the painter since 1981 in a French public institution, confirming, five years after his passing, the historical significance of this artist.

Too often associated with the American minimalist movement, with which it most often engages on museum walls, Ryman's unique approach demands to be looked at for itself and by itself today. The Musée de l'Orangerie, home to Claude Monet's ultimate masterpiece, the Water Lilies, proves to be the perfectly suitable venue for this reinterpretation.

Ryman, who rejected the notion of influence or the idea of exhibiting in dialogue with another artist, nevertheless inscribes himself in the history of painting by questioning each aspect and foundation. Like Monet before him, he focused his research, almost obsessively, on the specificities of his medium, interrogating the notions of surface, the limits of the work, the space in which it integrates, the light with which it plays, and the duration in which it unfolds.

It is around these simple notions - surface, limit, space, light, duration - that the exhibition is articulated. These are fundamental elements of painting that Ryman exhausts the potential of, to better reveal them to each other. It is through the gaze that the painter casts upon them, an active gaze, that the painting, thus reduced to its essence, takes on its full meaning. Thus, through this exhibition, we hope to address a fundamental issue of Ryman's approach: to show painting in its simplest form, to reveal it through the light and space in which it is inscribed, as necessary to the work as its physical components (medium, support, attachment...).

Often associated with minimalist and abstract movements, Robert Ryman is a complex, passionate, and surprising painter. At first glance, his works can be perplexing: few distinct colors or shapes, monumental canvases, visible brushstrokes... The Musée de l'Orangerie aims to unveil the secrets of this renowned American artist, who is much more innovative than he appears.

"The Act of Looking" is a milestone retrospective that brings together numerous paintings, offering an overview of the painter's career and unique artistic approach. Indeed, Robert Ryman was an original artist who stood apart from the traditional art world: he did not seek to create illusion or meaning in his paintings, he refused to name them, he did not wish to be exhibited in dialogue with another artist.

The American artist was interested in technique, medium, and the various supports and materials at his disposal. Each brushstroke was for him a thorough study of the material. Gouache, watercolor, acrylic, engraving, lithography: the artist experimented with many techniques to find their specificities.

This unique artist appreciated painting in its simplest definition, art in its rawest, purest state. A passionate approach, to which the Musée de l'Orangerie pays homage by offering an exhibition that meets Ryman's value criteria. A curiosity to discover without delay!


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