Each exhibition by Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille (French, both born in 1974) is conceived as a joyful and stimulating reflection on painting. In the first room, a small and elegant portrait of Oscar Wilde on panel welcomes the visitor. Is it Oscar Wilde’s – or Dorian Gray’s portrait? By way of introduction, a warning that one should keep in mind:images fall into disrepair.
Since more than ten years, the duo explores and unveils the conditions of “the making of painting”: the choice of a source-imagery – figurative or abstract – and its meaning in a world saturated by images; the choice of a technique, and how it matches this imagery; the implications and constraints of this technique; the visibility of the process; the circulation of a motif within different artworks, etc. Each new work redefines with generosity their vision of painting:
“Painting cannot be a fixed and patented gesture. It must be alive, reflexive, in perpetual motion. Painting must be open to all the potentials offered by its practice. Painting must be opportunistic and must keep self-awareness.”(Excerpts from The making of painting, lecture given at Collège de France, 2014)
The first ‘mystery’ and inevitably the first question which comes to mind when looking at the paintings of Tursic & Mille is: how can you be a painter with two heads and four hands?
“At the beginning, it hurts the ego; the first brushstroke of the other is hard to swallow. […] But it allows us to accept things that we would never have done individually. [...] Sometimes we are 1 + 1 = 1; sometimes we are 1 + 1 = 2.” (Idem)
Second ‘mystery’: In their studio in Burgundy, Tursic & Mille can work simultaneously together on 1) a very large obscene pornographic painting, 2) a delicate portrait on wood, 3) an abstract painting, 4) etchings of landscapes with flowers. But is it really different? As goes the famous statement of Maurice Denis (1890): "Remember that a painting, before being a battle horse, a nude woman or any anecdote, is essentially a plane surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order." We are talking about painting, process, images: how they appear and disappear. The classical categories of the Nude, the Portrait, the Landscape and the Still-Life are confronted to the reality (or anti-reality) of a contemporary digital image database.
Third ‘mystery’: Pay very close attention to the details; look in-between the overlapping layers. Here you will recognize the Montagne Sainte-Victoire, dear to Cézanne, there you will see an enlargement of an “airbrush testing-sheet” used for another painting. You will also notice that some abstract paintings are actually real palettes used by the artists, which happen to be offset plates – garbage from the printing of their last catalogue. All these connections, but also the artists’ manner, the circulation of motifs, have one thing in common: a principle of pleasure.
“Something in the paintings of Ida Tursic and Wilfried Mille makes us beautiful, and turns us into worthy onlookers. Herein lies the 'intangible' part of the oeuvre of Ida Tursic and Wilfried Mille. It is in the nature and making of this relationship which links us to it. And if this painting leaves plenty of room for tangible things, but does not assign them any place particular, this is because its project is elsewhere: in the on-going quest for ways of expressing this intangible part which alone sets works of art apart from ordinary things, and makes a distinction between pictures and paintings.”
(Éric Troncy, This Painting in Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille. Decade, Les presses du réel, 2011)
At the same time, GalerieMax Hetzler presents an exhibition with new paintings by André Butzer at Goethestrasse 2/3.
Ida Tursic (*1974 in Belgrade, Serbia) and Wilfried Mille (*1974 in Boulogne-sur-mer, France) live and work in Diénay, Burgundy. Solo exhibitions include Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dôle; FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand; Le musée de Sérignan or 40m Cube, Rennes among others. They participated in several group shows, including Shit and Die, Palazzo Cavour, Torino (curated by Maurizio Cattelan) (2014); Halftone, Galerie Max Hetzler, Paris and Berlin (2014);My Paris, ME-Collectors Room, Berlin (2011); Centre Pompidou at Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2010); l’Image Cabrée, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010). Their work is in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Le Consortium, Dijon; Berardo Museum, Lisbon; Francès Foundation, Senlis and National collection of Contemporary Art-FNAC, Paris, among others. In October 2014, they participated to a symposium on painting at College de France with Glenn Brown and Jeff Koons. In July 2015 their second public commission in France was inaugurated: the paintings in the Salon de Musique of Villa Laurens in Agde.