On view through the end of the week, Bortolami Gallery is currently presenting its fourth exhibition of work by Daniel Buren, taking place in the gallery’s new Tribeca location. Buren’s rich and varied career has been the subject of major museum exhibitions worldwide, and here, in the gallery’s spacious location at 39 Walker Street, turns towards the architectural character of the newly inaugurated space. His works here draw on space, position and perspective to transform the space with his bright colors and filtered light.
Buren is best known for his use of contrasting stripes to transform a space. Over his 50-year career, this recurring motif has allowed the artist to transform public and private spaces like subway platforms and outdoor walls into sites of contemplation, emphasizing their character and interaction with nearby structures. By modifying the specific features and dimensions of a site, the artist alters the viewer’s perceptions and ability to navigate the space, with a vocabulary drawing on enhanced lighting, obstructed viewpoints, and a focus on certain architectural details.
Buren has identified himself as an artist who “lives and works in situ”, and each of his works is intended for a particular site and time. This work is inspired by a particular location, but with the knowledge that the very same elements of the original work can be reinstalled in a different location using the same tools, yielding very different results. His recurring tool, alternating stripes of contrasting colors set at exactly 8.7 cm width, derived from the fabric he first used as a canvas in 1965. These stripes function as a unit of measurement or formal properties that define the work as it moves from site to site, a constant numerical element that functions against the variable parameters and juxtapositions of the changing contexts and sites in which his work is placed.
Buren’s installation work thus reflects a rigorous and unbending approach to the reproducibility and standards of reproduction of the work of art. The strict parameters that define this work and its legacy allow the artist to explore and hone a relationship to space, color and form that lends itself to endless transformation while also forging a vision that is distinctive in its ruthless consistency. His works contrast these stark black and white bands with large washes of color, set up on opposing sides of each column in the gallery space so as to emphasize movement and changes in position. A walk through the space unveils a constantly shifting visual experience, as perceptions of each color mix and blend, gradually changing the viewer’s understanding of their relation to the space at large. The result is a work that presents itself as a fitting welcome for the gallery to its new space downtown.
— A. Corrigan
Exhibition Page [Bortolami]