Books on Claude Viallat

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Claude Viallat is a constant recycler of materials using tent canvas, sheets, blinds for his painting supports. Brushing paint, or using color soaked sponges, or cardboard stencils, Viallat constructs his paintings on the ground in a very gestural and physical manner. In 1974, The Musee d’art Moderne in Saint-Etience, directed by Bernard Ceysson, held a one-man show of Claude Viallat’s work. The book for this exhibition is a handsome one, 119 pages, and includes his sculptures and paintings.
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A smaller book entitled Claude Viallat, published by the Centre d’Arts Plastiques contemporains de Bordeaux, is from an exhibition held from the 25th of february to 19th of April 1980. This book has many photographs of Viallat at work and many color or black and white plates of his work.

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A third book is also published by Ceysson, 95 pages, and includes the work of Daniel Dezeuze, Patrick Saytour, and Claude Viallat.

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The most comprehensive and beautiful book on Viallat, which is a difficult one to find, is 356 pages, with text in french and english. It includes a complete biography, historical photographs, The plates in full color/ page size.

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Pierrette Bloch

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Finally there is a book, in English, on Pierrette Bloch. This comprehensive monograph, entitled Pierrette Bloch, edited by Musee Janisch Vevey, includes extensive plates and knowledgeable, readable, essays on the collages, drawings and weavings of this remarkable French artist. Any book that has an essay by Catherine de Zegher is bound to be excellent. De Zegher’s essay is called “When “Imprevisibles” Interstices Become Interstitches”. This essay explains how and why Bloch began using mesh and, then, horsehair to “draw” in space. Catherine de Zegher weaves together insightful commentary on Bloch’s relationship to such artists as Richard Tuttle (his wire pieces), Karel Malich, Gego and Bourgeois.

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Laurence Schmidlin writes an essay entitled “By a Sort of Chance: A Biography of Pierrette Bloch”. Schmidlin writes: instead of the “summarizing of names and inventories we have chosen to retrace her career following a different path, taken by and borrowed from the artist, that of the “walk”, the “adventure” she sets out on. Philippe Piguet’s essay on “Writing, Gesture and Time” is a philosophical treatise on Bloch’s work. Interspersed among these informative and imaginative essays are the artist’s work: ink drawings, weaving, collages.

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There are some other good French exhibition catalogues on Pierrette Bloch’s work.

“Identites Textiles excritures 1972-1982” documents Bloch’s early work with mesh weavings. This catalogue is 36 pages and clearly shows the relationship of the drawings/collages to the weavings.

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“Pierrette Bloch: April 25 – June 13, 2009 is published by Chanin Fine Arts with an essay by Dore Ashton who remarks on Bloch’s close relationship to writing/mark-making. This catalogue is 48 pages.

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“Pierrette Bloch: sculptures et dessins de crin collages, 1968-1998” is published by Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, This catalogue is 75 pages, with excellent full-page plates, photogravure on heavy paper stock.

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All these catalogues record the history of Bloch’s innovative work. The Musee Jenisch Vevey monograph, however, is the most comprehensive and accessible.