BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead presents the work of Daniel Buren (born Boulogne-Billancourt, 1938), widely considered to be France’s greatest living artist and one of the most influential and important figures in contemporary art for the last 50 years. Buren has exhibited in many of the world’s major art institutions and realised numerous external commissions. This summer, a major exhibition at BALTIC will include new and existing work by Buren in its Level 3 and 4 galleries, including a large-scale commission for its renowned Level 4 gallery.
In the 1960s Buren developed a radical form of conceptual art, a ‘degree zero of painting’, creating works which draw attention to the relationship between art and context. He abandoned traditional painting and adopted the 8.7 cm wide vertical stripe, used as a ‘visual tool’ to prompt a reading of the work’s surroundings rather than just the work itself. Made with paint, fabric, paper, tape among other materials, the stripes appear in his interventions in galleries, museums, and public sites. For almost four decades, Buren has chosen to make work in situ, responding to a particular location, and colouring the spaces in which they are created.
While the stripes have remained a recognisable and intrinsic element of Buren’s practice, recently his works have become more sculptural and architectural in form. The artist’s installation Excentrique(s), at the Grand Palais in Paris, commissioned for MONUMENTA, 2012, comprised a series of raised, coloured circular structures covering the 13,500 m² nave and providing a ‘ceiling’ that could be walked under.
At BALTIC, Buren will present a selection of rarely seen reliefs, paintings and sculptures from the last seven years on Level 3. Luminous fibre optic works from the artist’sElectric Light series (2011) continue the artist’s preoccupation with form, space, light and colour. Other works made with paint, fibreboard and tape play with depth, surface and architecture. The works will provide further insight into the breadth of his practice.