Two important exhibitions marking the 90th birthday of French artist François Morellet opened last week at Annely Juda Fine Art and The Mayor Gallery, and offer an exceptional opportunity to review the work of one of the most significant artists of the 20th century; a pioneer who has expanded the very definition of what abstract art can be.
The exhibitions include significant works from the 1960s and 1970s at The Mayor Gallery, as well as 16 new and recent neon works and paintings at Annely Juda Fine Art.
Both exhibitions were featured as Jackie Wullschlager’s Visual Arts Critic’s Choice in the FT Weekend. She notes that the London exhibitions ‘span six decades and demonstrate Morellet as a pioneering conceptual painter-sculptor, as well as a joker.’
In an interview with Morellet for Wallpaper* Florence Waters describes his ‘attitude, of standing back from his own success and observing it with a scientific, politicised coldness – yet always with a warm, humanising wit.’
He reveals “I often said that in the past, I considered my work was widely underestimated and that today it is probably overestimated. Injustice can be quite bearable, especially when it favours yourself.”
According to Cristina Ruiz, writing in the May issue of The Art Newspaper, François Morellet and other ‘OFAs (old French artists) are the new YBAs’. She adds, ‘commercial galleries […] are widening the parameters of Modernism and its movements… For some French artists in their 80s and 90s, this has led to the international recognition that has eluded them for 50 years.’
90 at Annely Juda Fine Art runs until 24th June.
Les Règles du Jeu at The Mayor Gallery runs until 27th May.
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