artist / participant
The International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) is proud to present Nathalie Du Pasquier: Fair Game. Curated by Kate Sutton, the exhibition samples from over three decades of the artist’s paintings, prints, drawings and murals, as well as a new series of silkscreen printed modules made on site at the MGLC.
Du Pasquier has envisioned the exhibition as “a game of construction,” forgoing a chronological retelling of her oeuvre to build off the formal affinities within her work. Rather than the traditional timeline of the retrospective format, the galleries sooner resemble a looped chain of domino tiles, each room matched to the next through the artist’s own intuitive logic.
The exhibition’s title pirouettes on the multiple meanings packed within two simple words. Fair Game could refer to a beautiful diversion or, drawing on another interpretation of “fair,” a sport played justly, according to the rules; the phrase doubles as an idiom that takes another usage of the word “game”—prey, hunted for sport—to designate something as “a legitimate object of pursuit,” available for the taking or targeting. While this turn of phrase lightly applies to the breadth and scope of the work presented within the exhibition (much of which has yet to be publicly exhibited previously), it also taps into the kind of voracious visual appetite driving Du Pasquier’s formal structures. In her eye, nothing is ever off the table, composition-wise. She may find her muse in mundane, everyday objects and shapes, but her pursuits are never trivial.
Du Pasquier first made her name with vibrant, eye-catching graphics and textile prints shaped by the artist’s eclectic influences, imagination and impulse towards experimentation. Since 1987, she has focused primarily on painting, developing a signature style that collapses multidimensional modes of representation onto a single surface.
Du Pasquier’s series often develop out of little games the artist plays with herself. Take "Away, Again," a room full of lithe drawings made when the artist was on holiday, removed from the trappings of the studio and left to only the most portable media. For "In Black and White," Du Pasquier creates monochrome compositions that imitate photography without resorting to any mechanical interventions. As an additional element, the artist paints some of these images in negative, an optical feat accomplished purely in her mind’s eye. The works lining the walls in the room titled "Sky" were produced during the winter, when, rather than grapple with the rapidly changing conditions of the light in the studio, the artist resolved to paint her subjects as if there was no light affecting them whatsoever. In doing so, she releases these all too real objects into a kind of blithe abstraction.
While Du Pasquier’s most recent paintings may have veered towards abstraction, the earliest examples were based on actual physical models, fashioned from simple wooden geometric shapes or sundry household items like teapots, bricks or bottles. Over time, these assorted elements appear and reappear in new compositional configurations, like cards in a deck that take on new powers with each hand dealt. The artist approaches exhibition-making much the same way, shuffling together different bodies of work to deal out a fresh hand. However, in any game there is always an element of chance.
One of the founding members of the Memphis Group, in 1987, Nathalie Du Pasquier shifted from her focus onto painting. Du Pasquier’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at international institutions, including the landmark BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT, curated by Luca Lo Pinto for Kunsthalle Wien in 2016. She lives and works in Milan.