His paintings use a formal and abstract language through a baroque-like pictorial treatment. Some vivid and luminous coloured shapes with their clearly demarked contours seem to be cut into pieces and contrast with black curves. The texture varying between opaque and transparent offers a play in which the forms intertwine and overlap on the surface.
The artist tries to capture and extract what resists. “A personal archaeology” which leads him to explore the stratums of a “collective unconsciousness.” The energy spent to extract shapes is expressed through the density and the stratums superimposition in his paintings. The act of painting, says Oppenheim, “is to physically confront one’s unconscious. […] The painting does not happen with ideas, but with the body. It is an understanding of the world through the body. It is not a matter of having ideas, but rather to eliminate them.”
Superimposed forms, interlaced and transparent, depict the successive constructions and deconstructions that constitute the painting, thereby putting into question the making of the pictures. The gestures of invalidating, of re-covering the surface and of starting over are characteristic of Oppenheim’s work. They focus on the very act of painting and at the same time prohibit an immediate understanding of the work. According to Oppenheim, “making the spectator aware of the artistic activity itself is central. The work should intentionally undermine any effort to quickly and simply understand what is depicted; on the contrary, by disquieting the spectator, it should provoke a process of reflection and analysis.”
Yves Oppenheim lives and works in Berlin. Leading museums such as the ARC, the Paris Museum of Modern Art (1988), the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts, the Contemporary Art Center of Domaine de Kerguèhennec (1998), as well as the Fine Arts Museum in Gap (2000), have hosted his solo exhibitions. His work is part of the prestigious collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Paris Museum of Modern Art and the Carré d’Art in Nîmes. Oppenheim has had exhibitions in Germany at the Max Hetzler Gallery (2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009) and created a special installation in 2012 at the gallery‘s Project Space in Weidingen / Eifel. He was presented in Paris and Athens at the Xippas Gallery (2006 and 2010), in Brussels at the Xavier Hufkens Gallery (2005), in Lisbon at the Pedro Cera Gallery (2009) and in New York City at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery (2011).
The exhibition Yves Oppenheim will be on view at 6, rue des Sablons in Geneva until November 3, from Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 7pm and on Saturday from 1pm to 5pm.