BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT is Nathalie Du Pasquier’s first solo exhibition in Austria. Covering an artistic career spanning 35 years, the exhibition brings together her paintings and patterns, sculptures and designs, constructions, carpets, and ceramics.
Working between the fields of fine arts, design and craft, Du Pasquier repeatedly breaks the “rules” and confines of genre. Self-taught, Nathalie Du Pasquier began her career in textile design. At the age of 23, she was the youngest founding member of Memphis, the influential Milanese design and architecture collective launched under the direction of Ettore Sottsass in 1980. Since 1987 however, her main focus and passion has been to paint.
Regardless of category, Nathalie Du Pasquier’s works always bear her distinct and unmistakable hallmark. Her travels to the African continent during her early youth, the ornamentation of the Wiener Werkstätte, Le Corbusier’s and Amédée Ozenfant’s artistic production, and Novecento painting by Giorgio de Chirico and Giorgio Morandi all had an impact on her creative approach. When asked about her method and the traces of the diverse influences in her work she explains: “adventures are like that: you follow tracks, you don’t follow ideologies.”
BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT averts a chronological framework and instead opts for an intuitive choreography. As conceived by Du Pasquier, pieces from different periods of artistic production are presented side by side, portraying the natural evolution and exchange between design and painting, as well as illustrating recurring elements and processes of making that ultimately underscore all of her oeuvre. The division of different rooms, considered as houses or cities of intrigue, constitute the central exhibition space. In each of these rooms creative phases are presented in a wild jumble of chronologies, materials, and motifs. The dynamics of geometry unfold on perceiving the interrelations between the items: sculptural objects that resemble architectonic models are paired with paintings of sculptures; coloured elements stand out axonometrically in metaphysical, monochrome landscapes. Flat, two-dimensional objects cut out of painted paper or cardboard alternate with small, decorative three-dimensional constructions. These enigmatic juxtapositions manifest as a trompe-l’oeil, tricking the eye they recall objects from Du Pasquier’s design period. Monochrome drawings, graphic works, and furniture dating back to the artist’s time at Memphis support this theory – a delicate synthesis of work manifests itself, her unique practice is a product of experiments drawing from the perspective of painting.
The exhibition at Kunsthalle Wien is the first extensive solo show dedicated to Nathalie Du Pasquier at an international institution, and is thus a long overdue homage to her oeuvre in all its genre-spanning complexity