Joel Shapiro

Works on paper

American minimalist artist Joel Shapiro presents for the first time at Galerie Daniel Templon a rare set of drawings inspired by his famous abstract sculptures.

Between constructivist tradition and reference to the human figure, Joel Shapiro uses extremely simplified shapes and inscribes them in a lively and cheerful palette of simple colors. He plays with the notion of movement and seeks to provoke a certain “empathy” in the viewer. For him, these geometric shapes embody emotions.

Made intuitively, they are constructed with spontaneity and preserve the trace of the artist’s thoughts. Fingerprints, eraser marks, shapes erased then moved, act as “repentances” of the artist in search of a subtle balance between harmony and deconstruction.

Although there is an obvious connection between Joel Shapiro’s sculptures and drawings, his drawings are a two-dimensional approach to a subject he explores through sculpture: form in space. As he explains, “the drawings are questions and notes. I draw the problems I’m thinking about at any given moment. Once the problem is solved, it becomes a summary of my work.”

The artist

Born in 1941, Joel Shapiro lives and works in New York. A famous minimalist artist renowned for his frequently anthropomorphic monumental bronze sculptures, he endlessly probes the possibilities of line and form in space. The question of balance is always present in his work, playing on the mass, density and properties of materials. His work shows the powerful influence of the Russian constructivists, whose heritage he embraces and transgresses in equal measure.

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