Jim Dine, the 87-year-old legend of American art, is taking over the two floors of Galerie Templon’s vast space Rue du Grenier-Saint-Lazare in Paris with Grace and Beauty, a spectacular series of previously unseen pieces, specially created for the show.
Combining large scale paintings on wood panel and anthropomorphic bronze sculptures, Jim Dine explores the notion of creation, its power and its limits. The outsized paintings evoke the painter’s intimate world of studio walls and palettes, their looming presence bringing to mind stage sets, both abstract and figurative. At their heart lie interlaced brass pipes and various tools, either crushed and distorted beyond recognition. As a counterpoint, a group standing sculptures, part machine, part plant, part classical statues, display a rare degree of complexity and technical virtuosity.
Jim Dine, who has been an intermittent Parisian for the last twenty years, is often associated with the pioneering days of New York happenings and the glorious era of the American Pop Art. Yet he remains, fiercely independent, insisting on total freedom of form. The new work demonstrates his capacity to push the boundaries of technical experimentation even further: his bronze surfaces either imitate wood slabs or industrial foam; with their sophisticated colours, the hand-patinated sculptures rival with the paintings. Axes and hammers dialogue with fragments of faces and heart shapes. Disarmingly simple as well as delightfully sophisticated, brutal yet delicate, the new series seeks to reaffirm the absolute freedom of the artist: the power to identify the unchartered territories of beauty.
On September 23 at 8PM, the Maison de la Poésie, located at 157 Rue Saint-Martin, Paris 3, will welcome the artist for a reading of his poetic oeuvre.
Born in 1935, Jim Dine grew up in Ohio and started his career in 1950s New York with a series of happenings that attracted a great deal of attention. In the 1960s, he exhibited his assemblages and first paintings alongside the new generation of pop artists, from Jasper Johns to Robert Rauschenberg. A multi-faceted artist fascinated by the question of savoirfaire, he applied himself to learning print-making, photography and monumental sculpture. Introspection is central to his work, which obsessively delves into a number of recurring motifs, including body fragments, the heart, tools, Venus and Pinocchio. Jim Dine has spent the last 60 years travelling the world, sharing his time between various foundries, studios and print workshops, from Goettingen in Germany to New York, Wala-Wala on the US West Coast to Saint Gallen in Switzerland. Over the last ten years, poetry has emerged as one of the core elements of his practice, and he regularly gives readings and performances of his poems.
Jim Dine’s work features in over 70 public collections across the world, including at the MoMA, Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Tate Collection in London. In 2018, the Centre Pompidou organised a major retrospective of his work which then travelled to the Centre Pompidou Malaga then the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow. Another major retrospective was held in Rome by the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in 2020. In 2021, he inaugurated the Fondation GGL in Montpellier with his largest commissioned work in France: a ceramic ceiling created especially for the 17th-century manor house that is home to the foundation in collaboration with the Manufacture de Sèvres. Next year will see a solo exhibition of his work at the new Kunsthaus Goettingen in Germany, where his House of Words pavilion was inaugurated in September 2021.
An exhibition catalogue will be published by Éditions Steidl.