Peinture aux formes variables

(juillet-août) 1966

Paint on canvas, white and orange striped fabric, with alternate and vertical strips, each 8,7 cm wide ; white acrylic paint tracing a reserve with wavy countour on three sides, at the top, at the bottom, on the left

223 x 198.3 cm (87 13/16 x 78 1/16 in.)

The perfectly rectilinear weave of a vast network of white and orange verticals is only altered on three of its sides by a white reserve with wavy contours. Peinture aux formes variables belongs to the eponymous matrix series that launched Daniel Buren's prolific, iconic work.

Seeing a piece of striped fabric at the Saint Pierre market in 1965 sparked a turning point in his painting. Methodically reproducing 8.7-cm-wide strips on a canvas and varying only the colour, he experimented with an impersonal pictorial practice to reach what he calls "zero degree painting". The conventional distinction between substance (the support) and form (the painting) is thus subordinated to the trivial, repetitive motif, while the ideas of framing and composition are radically erased.

This version of Peinture aux formes variables is in the Pinault Collection alongside two others from the same series. It was exhibited during the 2009 "Mapping the Studio" show at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana.
Daniel Buren's other artwork