Bureau is proud to announce the first one-person exhibition in the United States of Swiss painter Francis Baudevin, Blue Green Grey and Gone.
For over 20 years Francis Baudevin has been painting hard-edge, geometric abstraction sourced from found, graphic motifs. Devoid of all textual information, Baudevin consumes his chosen specimens – record labels, pharmaceutical boxes, book covers and other industrial or commercial graphics – stripping them of their brand and type, yet offering a faithful reproduction. Baudevin’s protocol is consistent: he scales up the original by a factor of ten or more, reproducing the color, composition and proportion of the graphic source, resulting in an oeuvre that is bold in color and stark in shape.
Baudevin’s work can be located at the interstice of appropriation and neo-geo as his practice centers around found abstraction and reproduction. He has a great admiration for the historical European avant-garde as well as the traditions of high American modernism of 1950s New York. Contextualized in the history of Swiss art, he is part of a century-long tradition of concrete abstraction from Max Bill to Olivier Mosset and John Armleder. There is also a dominance in Switzerland of a hard-edge and pared-down graphic vernacular which clearly echoes through Baudevin’s practice.
An avid record collector, Baudevin’s musical taste similarly spans the Atlantic. A wide variety of music also deeply informs his practice. He listens to a huge range of styles, from the arcane to the popular, and he often uses the graphic motifs from record covers and LP labels in many of his paintings. Two works in Blue Green Grey and Gone are culled from the artist’s record collection, one a Bach record sleeve and one a graphic from the boxset of the America Brass Quintet’s Music for Brass: 1500 - 1970.
As is the case with many of Baudevin’s paintings, the source of the work’s graphic identity is given in its title, but only occasionally are we able to identify the original. At times the viewer is able to discover the harmonious geometry of a frequented product, and indeed it is part of Baudevin’s practice to reveal elegant design locked inside brand identity. More often though, the singularity of Baudevin’s painting stands alone and iconic - a tether between the utopian project of modernism and the proliferation of our contemporary consumerism.
Francis Baudevin (b. 1964 in Bulle, Switzerland) lives and works in Lausanne. He has exhibited widely in Europe, including shows at Mamco, Geneva; Mac/Val, Vitry-Sur-Seine; La Salle de Bains, Lyon; Art:Concept, Paris; Mark Müller, Zurich; Skopia, Geneva; and the Swiss Institute, New York and many more. He was awarded the Prix de la Société des Arts, Geneva in 2009. His work is included in Bob Nickas’s Painting Abstraction book for Phaidon 2009. A monograph, Miscellaneous Abstract was published by JRP in 2010. Hello Spiral (2005, JRP) includes an in-depth interview with Valérie Mavridorakis detailing the artist’s extensive record collection and obsession with 20th Century music.