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Claude Viallat at La Verrière

Toiles et twills

A founder member of the Supports/Surfaces group in 1970, Claude Viallat's paintings explore the infinite possibilities of systems of coloured forms. This winter, he presents an exhibition of original work at La Verrière in Brussels.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Claude Viallat at La Verrière
© Claude Viallat, 2010

Born in Nîmes in 1936, Claude Viallat has dedicated his artistic career to what he calls ‘constitutive experimentation' – art founded on the repetition of chance forms, conceived as logos or signs.

‘At first', he explains, ‘I planned to work with the system for no more than a fortnight or so. But the more I experimented with various different supports and techniques, the more I understood its tremendous potential. You learn to paint by ‘feeling your way'.

The use of this quasi living, organic form (an amoeba? a bean?), with its anthropomorphic overtones, enabled him to deconstruct the picture. The textile support on which he placed his colours, often using a stencil technique, resulted in a wide variety of textures, weaves and backgrounds, each giving the form a clearer or more blurred contour, and greater or lesser contrasts of tonality.

Widely hailed as one of the greatest colourists in the history of Western painting, Claude Viallat's work features in many of the world's leading contemporary art museums in Europe, America and Asia. This winter, Viallat's distinctive colours come to La Varrière in Brussels, orchestrated on a vast canvas and hangings in silk twill, woven by the house of Hermès.

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