Red is Aubertin’s first solo exhibition in New York, and marks De Buck Gallery’s representation of the artist’s estate.
After meeting the legendary Yves Klein in 1957, Aubertin embarked upon a decades-long career integrating one of the key lessons from Klein: the monochrome. Whereas Klein famously developed his own shade of blue, Aubertin similarly latched onto a vibrant red hue that would come to define his practice. Aubertin’s important color focus informed the title “RED” for this current exhibition.
As outlined in Aubertin’s writings, he sought to bring out the absolute “destiny” of the color, and in turn, what he calls the “pictorial essence” and a psychic/sensuous value, through monochromy. Fire too, inextricably tied to the red of his choosing, and with its transformative power as controlled via a physical act by the artist, became an integral part of both performances and stand-alone works by Aubertin. In addition to his early encounter with Klein, Aubertin met the German founders of the international Zero movement (including Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, and Gunther Uecker), and quickly became a recognized member of the group. Aubertin’s contribution to the movement was recognized most recently by inclusion in the 2014 exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ZERO, Countdown to Tomorrow.
Red provides an in-depth retrospective of various stages of Aubertin’s career. An iconic series of Tableau Clous works from the late 1960s, nail embedded monochrome wood panels emphasize a break with the traditional two-dimensionality of painting and the sacredness of the immaculateness of the painted surface. Aubertin’s 1970s Parcours d’allumettes series, burnt matches arranged in graphic designs on monochromatic (his trademark red or gray) backgrounds, highlight the emergence of art following the artist’s “destructive” fire performances, much like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Later works in the exhibition communicate Aubertin’s continuously evolving interest in both monochromy and fire in art throughout his career.