Bertrand Lavier - Medley

Hors les murs From 19 April 2018 to 4 November 2018

© Adagp, Paris, 2015. Photo © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

The Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo is pleased to present Medley, a monographic exhibition dedicated to French artist Bertrand Lavier, produced in the framework of the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s “Hors-les-murs” program

Bertrand Lavier is an artist whose oeuvre has subverted the traditional categories of artistic classification. After studying horticulture at the Ecole Nationale d’Horticulture in Versailles (France), a subject that has since influenced his outlook, Lavier began his artistic career in the early 1970s. Reflecting upon the relationship between painting and sculpture, representation and abstraction, life and art, Lavier’s approach blends the spirit of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades with the mass-culture imagery of pop art and the trivial items typical of New Realism.

Lavier transcends traditional categories of painting and sculpture in order to emphasise hybridisation. His works, which take the form of objects that are painted, layered, mounted on a plinth, enlarged or simply removed from their original context, are organised into chantiers or “building sites”, as he calls his series, which he deliberately leaves open-ended to allow for the possibility of returning to them. Lavier incorporates everyday objects as well as other art into his work. In the 1980s, Lavier began using his “Van Gogh” painting technique as a form of intervention, covering everyday objects with a thick impressionist-like layer of paint.

With this act of painting over an existing object, banal items become artworks, but, even more importantly, the object becomes a painted image of itself. Paradoxically, the representation of reality only occurs when the original object is hidden from view and completely disappears. The result is an ambiguous vision of painting, its abstract nature replaced by an equivocal status hovering between figuration and abstraction.

The Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo invites to an exploration of the various styles and categories typical of Lavier’s oeuvre through the display of seven works from the Collection. From the painterly “Van Gogh” technique of Atomium (2007), to the playful tongue-in-cheek readymade interpretation of La Bocca sur Zanker (2005), this exhibition demonstrates Lavier’s unique ability to continuously develop and experiment with strategies of translation, transposition, and conversion. The exhibition also displays the neon installation Empress of India II (2005), acrylic works Walt Disney Productions 1947-2013 N°2 (2013), Birka (2007) and Paysages Aixois (2014), and the chrome-plated sculpture Ibo (2008). The blending of genres, principles and materials, is emblematic of Lavier’s artistic practice, producing works that destabilise our perception and disrupt our familiar ways of interpreting art, creating a visual impact that is paradoxically and strikingly self-evident.


of the exhibition