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Bernard Frize

Hands On

4 June — 20 July 2003

The most comprehensive exhibition of work by French artist Bernard Frize in the UK to date, it brought together 22 paintings with rarely seen sculpture and photography. It provided a unique opportunity to see the impressive stylistic and technical diversity of his work.

Frize likens his various ways of making work to recipes. Taking paint as the main ingredient, each becomes a question of process and discovery, controlling chance, arranging colour with simple brush strokes, dragging or pouring the paint across the canvas to reveal a beautiful range of effects. Adding a fascinating twist to Duchamp’s idea of being “as stupid as a painter,” the act of painting is reduced to its most simple and material elements.

All of the paintings in the exhibition were collaborative, involving a number of other people applying colour together on a canvas. The sculpture Heawood (1999) consists of two identical three-dimensional figure eights It functioned like a knot at the centre of the exhibition, solving the problem of how to arrange eight colours in such a way that each lies adjacent to all of the others. The photographic images exhibited provided a clue to the sources of inspiration for Frize’s work as a whole. They are characterised by a certain deliberateness and at the same time reflect Frizeís desire to make art responsive to incidental and unplanned phenomena.

Supported by Association Franaise d’Action Artistique Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres.