The Jean-Paul Najar Foundation hosts acclaimed French artist Christian Bonnefoi for a solo exhibition of seminal works from the collection as well as recent paintings. The artist’s first exhibition in the Middle East will feature a commissioned installation for the museum, which opened its doors this March in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue.
A long time friend and protégé of Najar, Bonnefoi’s exhibition at the JPNF includes paintings made at the start of his career in the 1970s. It demonstrate his creative evolution and growth over the decades. In the early years, Bonnefoi was interested in exploring the impact and creative implications of American art: abstract expressionism and minimalism. He was as equally interested in pursuing painterly practice, as theoretical reflection. It is from this time that he defined what was to become the method he follows to this day: to accompany each pictorial period by publications surveying the conceptual process and its evolution through the history of art.
From the start of the 1980s he embarked on a reconsideration of pre-war art with a particular focus on Picasso and Matisse. He inherited from both these artists a pronounced taste for the technique of collage. His recent works titled “Composition” show how he was able to develop and innovate this technique.
For the first time, the “Diagramme” a complex organisational chart of his works, it’s displayed, and illustrate scientifically the evolution of his practice through the decades, as he travels through time revisiting each series of work.
“Double Take” is curated by Sylvie Turpin who has worked on more than 20 shows with the artist, and has explored the relationship between the patron-collector Jean-Paul Najar and the artist: “When we realized that the museum’s archives were so rich it became evident we needed to juxtapose them with the paintings.” Turpin continues, “The documents narrate four decades, drawings, letters, polaroids, notes and are an invaluable history of Bonnefoi’s work, and the richness of his relationship with Najar.”
“It is important to remember that for years, painters and musicians would meet every night, until the early hours, around the table at Jean-Paul’s residence: endless conversations, exclusively on art and philosophy, would take place.” Recalls Bonnefoi. “The guests would make commentary on each other’s paintings as they hung on the walls.” The artist’s testimony narrates that theses evenings, beyond the friendly and entertaining nature, were an essential part in the development of his research.
The exhibition it’s accompanied by a comprehensive public and educational program, core to the JPNF’s mission to engage the community.
- Christian Bonnefoi, A Alain PommarA?, 1977. Photo by Daumerie. Courtesy of the artist and Jean-Paul Najar Foundation.
- Christian Bonnefoi, 2016. Courtesy of Jean-Paul Najar Foundation.