April 2, 2022 - Vincent Barré in conversation with art historian Karen Wilkin in celebration of the opening of Maisons/Ateliers at Corkin Gallery.
Corkin Gallery is pleased to present Maisons/Ateliers, an exhibition of bronze sculpture and works on paper by French artist Vincent Barré. Occupying varied realms of the arts, from architecture to filmmaking, Vincent Barré has maintained a central presence in the French cultural scene for over 50 years. Barré began his career as an architect in 1974, studying under the famed American architect Louis Kahn in Philadelphia. Pivoting to sculpture in 1982, Barré began making wood and metal constructions that respond to architecture and landscape. His large-scale cast iron and bronze sculpture can be found in the public and private spaces of France, Germany and China.
Barré made sculpture on a smaller scale during isolation in his Normandy studio in 2020. Maisons/Ateliers reflects on our shared experience of solitude in collapsed home/work spaces. His warm, sensuous bronzes embody the human desire for physical contact. “Barré’s sculptures seem, at least, when we first encounter them, to be self-sufficient, albeit mysterious objects, unlike anything but themselves. They fascinate us because of their intrinsic properties. Yet we soon discover how richly allusive these enigmatic forms prove to be. If we spend some time with Barré’s seemingly elemental structures, we not only become more aware of their subtly distorted geometric underpinnings, but we also find that they provoke a host of associations with everything from the human body to a surprising range of man-made things.” Minimal ink monotypes transform the artist’s mastery of form on delicate Chinese paper. These works explore the potential of black and white to evoke shifts in perspective and dimensionality.
The physicality of Barré’s process is felt in his work. He molds hot wax into hulls with his hands, scratching and scraping the material before casting the sculpture in bronze. The result is a richly textured surface which he enhances with brilliant patinas unique to each work.
The making of a wax sculpture in this exhibition is featured in Le bel été (A Beautiful Summer) - a film by Pierre Creton, with the participation of Barré, his partner in life and art. In conjunction with Maisons/Ateliers, the Alliance Française, Toronto will screen Le bel été and host a conversation with Vincent Barré on Wednesday, April 6 at 7 pm. The film, inspired by their own experiences, portrays stories of community, love and sensuality in the lives of the inhabitants of a small village in Normandy that receives teenaged African immigrants.
The work of Vincent Barré has been exhibited at major institutions in France including The Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis; The Musée d’art moderne André Malraux in Le Havre; and The musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie in Besançon. He was awarded residencies at MoMA PS1 and Triangle Artists Workshop in New York. Le bel été has been screened at the Vienna International Film Festival; the Marseille International Film Festival; and most recently in the retrospective of films by Creton and Barré in Cinéma du Réel 2021 at the Centre Pompidou, Paris.
Quote from “More Than Meets the Eye,” Karen Wilkin, 2016.