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Bernard Frize

For more than 40 years the French artist Bernard Frize (b.1954, Saint-Mandé) has carried out research on painting. Working almost exclusively in series, his abstract paintings have as their subject the creative process itself. Following predetermined and carefully considered designs, Frize explores all the technical and aesthetic possibilities in great methodical diversity until he considers them exhausted. Making works that do not mean anything beyond what they show, he considers them nevertheless as ‘images’: representations that need the gaze and interpretation of the viewer. Thus, Frize contributes to a culture of looking, offering visual exercises to the viewer. ‘A painting should let one guess how it was painted, as if one could have made it oneself’, he has said.

Painted in a horizontal position like most of his pieces, the large-format Extension 2(1990) is one of a series of ten paintings that Frize created between 1987 and 2001. To make it, he used a paintbrush 20 cm wide, loading it with eight segments of different colours and then covering the surface of the canvas in continuous sinuous gestures, producing a pictorial space wavering between depth and multicoloured marbling: ‘Something appears strange about the focal point, as though the paint weren’t really laid down on the ground of the canvas, or rather, one cannot quite decide whether the image is parallel to the picture plane. Their size contains a maddening space, with no benchmarks. I think that accelerates the activity of the gaze.’


  1. Bernard Frize, "Extension 2", 1990. Collection Mudam Luxembourg. Donation 1996 – Banque Internationale de Luxembourg. Apport FOCUNA © Photo : Studio Rémi Villaggi | Mudam Luxembourg
    Bernard Frize Extension 2, 1990

    Acrylique et résine sur toile
    240 x 222 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Donation 1996 – Banque Internationale de Luxembourg
    Apport FOCUNA
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi | Mudam Luxembourg

  1. Bernard Frize Avril, 1992

    Ensemble de 11 peintures
    Alkhyd polyuréthane sur toile
    70 x 74 cm chacune
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 1996 – Apport FOCUNA
    © Photo : Christof Weber

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