Monday, October 22, 2012

Vincent Fecteau

Galerie Buchholz in Cologne is exhibiting a new group of painted papier-mâché sculptures by Vincent Fecteau (b. 1969). This is the second time he has showed up on Spencer Alley (earlier this year other pieces appeared here).

Homage to Henry Moore (1898-1986) is frankly embedded in Fecteau's work – and this I take to be an instructive instance of the way artistic inheritance can open up fresh territory for those who come after, especially in the first couple of generations following the extinction of certain towering masters.

The dark originality of Francis Bacon (1909-1992) owed – as Bacon himself pointed out – a fundamental debt to Picasso (1881-1973) – with Bacon similarly liberated by the forms his predecessor had solidified and persuaded the public to regard as authentic.

The one thing I do not and cannot understand is the prevalence in European galleries of naked fluorescent strip-lighting (observable in the room-scale views at Daniel Buccholz above). This abomination extends even to the occasional museum. The photo below reveals one of the most ambitious and successful paintings of Matisse's early career, now hanging in ridiculously cramped conditions at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg under a blinding fluorescent glare. How in the world is such grossness possible?