An Amsterdam Retrospective
15 Apr – 23 Jul 2023
The French artist ANDRÉ STEMPFEL (1930) is an inspired and ingenious practitioner of monochrome geometries. Since the 1970s, when he lost his works and studio in a fire, he has focused almost exclusively on one color—yellow—and has made the yellow monochrome richly pictorial, signifying, and objective all at once. TMH is pleased to collaborate with the artist on his first solo show in Amsterdam, which assembles over forty works. A tribute to his extraordinary 50-year practice, the show presents an opportunity to rethink painting, sculpture, and even architecture from the perspective of minimalism.
On André Stempfel & JCJ Vanderheyden: Sun 4 Jun, 15:00-17:00, with Amsterdam Art Week (Wed 31 May – Sun 4 Jun)
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At the age of 92, Stempfel is vigorously prolific and no less innovative than in the past. The TMH installation finds resonance in the works’ relational plays—art/artist, artist/viewer, art/viewer—and uses the layout of the gallery to highlight their novel take on abstraction. In the front gallery, a group of humorous and self-referential paintings-sculptures take up all available space and use it as material; in the historical back space four curvilinear tableaus (two-dimensional or three-dimensional or both?) and several wall-defying sequences vie with the curvaceous Flora of the 18th-century ceiling painting. Throughout the space, a myriad of newer and older objects and object-like works on paper complete the picture of an inexhaustible play on the simplest of means. The large number of works in the show actually echoes Stempfel’s very first solo show in Grenoble in 1968.
In the words of the art writer Hubert Besacier, who has followed the practice of Stempfel for many years: “Lightness and playfulness remain the main characteristics of this work, proving that humor can thrive everywhere, even on the most minimalist of terrains… Not taking painting seriously means devoting yourself fully to it with all the necessary care, rigor and precision.” There is great conceptual depth and energy to these constructions. The reference to traditions is clear—yes, it is painting, sculpture, and drawing in concrete terms. But Stempfel has complicated the effect and possible meanings of geometric art (and of geometry tout court) and leaves it to us to categorize his venture.
The exhibition is organized by Marsha Plotnitsky, Founder of TMH, in collaboration with the artist and the art writer Hubert Besacier.
André Stempfel (1930, FR/CH) is known as an iconoclastic reinterpreter of geometric abstraction. After he lost his works in a fire in 1970, his practice centered on the visual language of the monochrome, primarily in yellow, and he extended his work to urban sculpture. Stempfel was already a determined painter at the age of 10 and chose art as his métier at the age of 17. He has been part of the international art scene from the late 1960s, showing in museums and galleries in Paris and abroad, and becoming an honorary member of the international MADI movement in 1989.
His works are part of important collections such as that of the Mondrian House in Amersfoort (NL), Pompidou Center and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (FR), the Mathematics Museum (Arithmeum) in Bonn (DE), Satoru Sato Museum (JP), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Museum Ritter (DE), and Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, Dallas (USA), among others. The Merchant House highlighted his work at Art Rotterdam and in the group show The Indispensable Experience of Art in 2021. In Paris, he is represented by Galerie Lahumière and has regularly been showcased in their shows of geometric abstraction, including at Art Paris 2022 and as part of their Motionless Mobility survey, 2022-23. His works were shown at important art fairs such as Art Basel, Art Cologne, FIAC, and Art Paris. Stempfel lives and works in Paris, where he shares his studio with his wife, the poet Evelyne Wilhelm, who collaborates with him on his artist’s books.