Currently on view at Bortolami Gallery in New York, the renowned French conceptualist Daniel Buren has brought his Tondi to bear on the gallery, offering striking continuation and renewal of his interest in place, space and perception that he has continually refined and occasionally redefined over the course of 50 years of practice. The Tondi were initially exhibited at Le Centquatre-Paris in France in 2015, and subsequently at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogota, Colombia, in 2017. In their new, third configuration at Bortolami, they are situated within the specific architecture of the gallery, allowing the well-lit, spacious TriBeCa room to participate expressively in their presentation and form. They are patterned arrangements of colored glass, filtering light into patterns of expressive color that underscore the work’s position and relationship to the gallery.
If there’s anything to be said here about Buren’s body of work, it’s that his impressive ability to comment on states of being, physical relationships in space, and the participation of myriad forces in the perception and understanding of the artwork hits a remarkable point here. Known for his frequent use of a single graphical trope, the stark, striped bars that he used as flags and for structural emphasis (and which still appear here over two doors in the gallery), his pieces here seem to investigate space in a more balanced relation between the world outside and his own hand. Light passes through the windows of the space and through the colored panes, creating an echo of the work that changes subtly based on the time of day or position of the viewer.
The gallery is also presenting the new documentary film on Buren’s work, Beyond time, as far as the eye can see. The six-and-a-half-hour film organizes his expansive career in several segments, each focusing on a specific aspect of his work, and functions as a comprehensive cinematic catalogue. Much like the rest of the artist’s body of work, its expansive depth and length makes for a participatory, gradual unfolding, welcoming the viewer to come back and view in parts and pieces, appreciating the shifts in awareness and space caused by multiple viewings. Perhaps this understanding of Buren’s work is most effective in appreciating the artist’s work in relation to the world, a state where the viewer’s position is only part of the conversation, and any one fragment is capable of opening a dialogue that lasts well beyond their time in the gallery.
Buren’s work is on view through October 13th.
Daniel Buren at Bortolami [Exhibition Site]