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David Salle

January 21, 2017 - February 25, 2017

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is pleased to announce the upcoming solo exhibition of David Salle, comprising a series of paintings on canvas and paintings on paper.

Immediately eye-catching, these new works combine a vibrant palette with a dense and dynamic composition.Salle juxtaposes shapes and heterogeneous images that link the photographic to the painterly, while creating disruptions between black and white areas and bold colour tones. As a whole, the painting gives the impression of a visual collage and marks a step forward in the development of the American painter’s practice.

“Ever since I started painting, I have tried to get the fluidity and surprise of image connection, the simultaneity of film montage, into painting.” (David Salle, 2003)

Following this new impulse, David Salle explores a more direct and gestural relationship with the very matter of painting and colour, to the point of freeing it from all forms of representation. The works on paper are originally based on enlargements of 1960s Life Magazine pages dating back from the artist’s youth. David Salle then paints on it until the source image disappears. The recurring motif associated with this series is freely inspired by the Project for a Monument to Guillaume Apollinaire conceived by Picasso in 1928 to pay tribute to his deceased friend. The sculpture represents a standing figure; arms outstretched forward, which seems to hold a disc. The metal rods circumscribe an empty space and create a transparent work, without material consistency.

Although David Salle’s practice generally relates to figuration, these new paintings clearly show his long-standing interest in a principle of equivalence, or even reciprocity between images and abstraction, between the motif represented and the means by which it is accomplished. The artist explores the tacit link that binds our gaze to the image. His visual vocabulary eventually leads to absurd relations and initiate a dynamic, autonomous of any convention. The process gradually gives elasticity and lightness to the pictorial space until the different layers of our collective consciousness are revealed. The recent paintings are imbued with irony and, as the artist says, “make vivid the strangeness of being alive today”.

In fall 2016, the Center of Contemporary Art, Malaga, dedicated a solo exhibition to his last 25 years of creation. His work is currently exhibited as part of Painters’ Painters at the Saatchi Gallery in London and will be part Fast Forward Paintings from the 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Art, New York (27 January – 14 May 2017). His book How to see, a collection of art essays, has just been published by W. W. Norton, New York.


January 21, 2017
February 25, 2017
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Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Marais
7 Rue Debelleyme
Paris, 75003
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+33 1 42 72 99 00