André-Pierre Arnal (b. 1939, Nimes, France)
Imbued with Mediterranean culture, bathed in the landscapes of the bas-Languedoc and Cevennes, André-Pierre Arnal applies his dual training – literary and sculptural – on a dual activity combining painting and a language lived and transmitted through teaching French for more than thirty years. After a short attendance at the École des Beaux-arts in Montpellier, he developed a solitary research in the 1960s, marked by the discovery of Matisse, the American abstract artists, and especially Paul Klee. From an exploration of the art of “monotype”, his taste for folk art led him to draw inspiration from it, making the “paper fortune teller” the starting point for a series of folds on canvas which, in the 1970s, would fall very aptly within the scope of the philosophy of the Supports/Surfaces group. He took a stand against an individualistic conception of the artist. The focus was on the deconstruction of the traditional medium of the work, the individual components of which – the frame, stretcher, fabric and colour – were considered in their individuality. Since then, André-Pierre Arnal has continued to re-invent himself, exploring an endless variety of media and techniques. In recent years, the artist’s production is geared to a partitioning of the painted canvas. He also uses cloth-mounted, foldable or sheet maps collected and accumulated over a long time, using several integrated techniques. This “dessus des cartes” gives rise to more complex results than those of the first series of a form of work that now spans over four decades. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Musée Fabre, Montpellier; The Tel-Aviv Museum; and the Metropolitan Museum in Tokyo.