Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 87: ‘Encore, Slathered Paint’

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Bertrand Lavier: Ndébélé, 2014

Given his renown in France, confirmed by a 2012 Pompidou retrospective, it’s odd how little Bertrand Lavier (born 1949) has been shown in London – but suddenly three moments amount to a retrospective of sorts. Outside the Serpentine’s Sackler Gallery (to 4 Oct) is a fountain made of multiple multi-coloured hoses. Massimo De Carlo (to 31 Jan) has the abstract paintings he derived from those made by Mickey Mouse in a Disney cartoon, and a room of mirrors painted in expressive silver to almost blur out the viewer as Lavier reflects on the brushstroke as a means of representing the reality denied. And Almine Rech (to 20 December) has just shown four pieces, including an inkjet print from a South African flag overpainted in the thick ‘Van Gogh style’ which Lavier has most famously applied to items such as a still-functioning piano. Lavier attributes some of his desire to destabilise categories – is an object or a painting? – to an awareness of grafting, picked up from his five year training as a horticulturalist. All of which adds up to an engaging post-Warholian way of questioning the boundaries between the everyday and the artistic, and between high and low culture. So how about an institutional survey, s’il vous plaît?

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Bertrand Lavier: Fountain, 2014

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Bertrand Lavier mirror paintings installation view

Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?

About Paul Carey-Kent

Art critic and curator, based near Southampton. I write most regularly for Art Monthly, Frieze, Elephant, State, Photomonitor... and, of course, FAD.