Claude Viallat (Nîmes 1936 -)


CLAUDE VIALLAT French painter Claude Viallat is one of the founders of the Supports/Surfaces movement, and has been considered one of the leading artists on the French scene since the 70s and 80s.
Born in Nîmes in 1936, where he now lives and works, Claude Viallat came to painting by chance, first at the École des Beaux-arts in Montpellier (1955-1959), then at the École des Beaux-arts in Paris (1962-1963). As a teacher in his own right, Claude Viallat encouraged his students to find their own signature. He found his own in 1966, in the midst of an experiment. Together with Vincent Bioulès, Marc Devade, Daniel Dezeuze and many others, Claude Viallat founded the Supports/Surfaces movement in 1969. Together, they renounced the stretcher and the stretched, primed canvas, marking the end of the painting as it had existed since the Renaissance. They called for a renewal of art by questioning traditional materials.

Viallat began working on industrial tarpaulins, on which he repeated over and over again the same abstract shape that had become his signature, a cross between a sponge, a bean and a jack bone. Stencilled on a variety of surfaces, this motif opens up a reflection on the meaning of the creative gesture and the status of the "work of art". In so doing, Claude Viallat took part in a radical critique of lyrical abstraction, which gave rise to a unique work on color, placing it both as a source of inspiration and as a means of expression.

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