Simon Hantai and the Reserves of Painting - Refiguring Modernism (Hardback)Molly Warnock (author)
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The Hungarian-born French painter Simon Hantai (1922-2008) is best known for abstract, large-format works produced using pliage: the painting of a crumpled, gathered, or systematically pleated canvas that the artist then unfolds and stretches for exhibition. In her study of this profoundly influential artist, Molly Warnock presents a persuasive historical account of his work, his impact on a younger generation of French artists, and the genesis and development of the practice of pliage over time.
Simon Hantai and the Reserves of Painting covers the entirety of Hantai's expansive oeuvre, from his first aborted experiments with folding around 1950 to his post-pliage experiments with digital scanning and printing. Throughout, Warnock analyzes the artist's relentlessly searching studio practice in light of his no less profound engagement with developments in philosophy, psychoanalysis, and critical theory. Engaging both Hantai's art and writing to support her argument and paying particular attention to his sustained interrogation of religious painting in the West, Warnock shows how Hantai's work evinces a complicated mixture of intentionality and contingency. Appendixes provide English translations of two major texts by the artist, "A Plantaneous Demolition" and "Notes, Deliberately Confounding, Accelerating, and the Like for a 'Reactionary,' Nonreducible Avant-Garde."
Original and insightful, this important new book is a central reference for the life, art, and theories of one of the most significant and exciting artists of the twentieth century. It will appeal to art historians and students of modernism, especially those interested in the history of abstraction, materiality and Surrealism, theories of community, and automatism and making.
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 1429 g
Dimensions: 241 x 229 x 26 mm
"Warnock's monograph makes a signature contribution to the study of Hantai's body of work and to the wider history of modernism. She explicates the fundamental theoretical and practical concerns of an understudied artist whose work, while important, is not well known to a broad audience. Without a doubt, her scholarship provides the most sophisticated art-historical analysis of Hantai's thought and practice to date."
-Michael Schreyach, author of Pollock's Modernism
"With this book we finally have a beautifully written, deeply researched, and comprehensive account of one of postwar Europe's most significant artists. Far from the cliche of Simon Hantai and his folded ('pliage') paintings as detached and impersonal, Molly Warnock reveals the artist's full investment in a 'deep context' of ideas, historical issues, and major artistic movements: from surrealism to minimalism via abstract expressionism, traversing the terrain of the Catholic liturgy, philosophies of community and phenomenology, and questions of writing and legibility, while never forgetting the techniques and fundamentals of the practice of painting."
-Natalie Adamson, coeditor of Material Imagination: Art in Europe, 1946-72
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