Pacific Design Center mounts installation of Claude Rutault’s conceptual artwork

Define Defiance

Seasonal Paintings, a new site-specific piece by the French conceptual painter Claude Rutault was installed on March 19 at the Pacific Design Center (PDC), an all-blue glass monolith in West Hollywood designed by the late Argentine architect César Pelli. 

Paintings are able to occupy space typically reserved for sculpture using fishing wire. (Photographer: Joshua White. Courtesy of the artist, Perrotin, and PDC Design Gallery)

A continuation of the 78-year-old artist’s “de-finitions/methods” series that he began in the early 1970s, Seasonal Paintings goes to great lengths to avoid the conventions of displaying two-dimensional artwork by occupying nearly all surfaces at once.

Canvases appear to levitate in the middle of the space, with the assistance of fishing wire that faintly glistens underneath the spotlights, while others are splayed out atop loosely shaped canvases like oversized bearskin rugs. The few paintings that are actually hung up on the wall disappear into the walls themselves, which have been painted in the identical shade. 

Several paintings lie on the floor atop a much larger piece of canvas. (Photographer: Joshua White. Courtesy of the artist, Perrotin, and PDC Design Gallery)

Rutault, now 78, is still active and continues to send instructions to galleries to remotely produce his artwork. (Courtesy Perrotin)

Like fellow conceptual artist Sol Lewitt, Rutault does not personally paint his artworks, but instead writes down a set of instructions for exhibiting art institutions to produce the work among themselves, thus allowing the work to exist in places the artist may not be able to visit himself. “My paintings have a short life,” the artist once said of his work, “but they have several of them.” 

Header image: Installation view of Claude Rutault’s exhibition de-finitions/methods from the 70s at Perrotin, New York, 2019. (Photographer: Guillaume Ziccarelli. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin)