LondonNot Vital: Paintings
Thaddaeus Ropac London presents Not Vital: Paintings, showcasing the renowned Swiss artist Not Vital in an intimate new light, underscoring the depth and breadth of his multifaceted practice. Focusing on a series of Portrait Paintings begun by the artist 12 years ago, the exhibition features a selection of works never previously exhibited in the UK, many of which have never been seen by the public.
The Portrait Paintings occupy a deeply personal and significant position in Vital’s oeuvre and offer insights into elements of his working process that usually remain hidden behind the scenes. As Vital says of his work in this medium: ‘Painting is the best way for me to see, feel and smell the light’. In this way, the works offer a unique addition to his sculptural practice, at the core of which lies a distinct and innate sensitivity to light, space and form.
Rendered predominantly in white, grey and black, the series of oil paintings features both prominent figures from history and individuals close to the artist. Reduced to the delicate interplay of light and dark, which is achieved through the subtle tonalities of a limited, greyscale palette, his subjects are repeatedly presented as darkly coloured orbs floating against the void of a seemingly ’empty’ background. Stripped back to their essential elements, Vital’s portraits become a process of mediation on the human form. These portraits replace an emphasis on the minutiae of detail with a focus on the overall form, highlighting the potency of essence as opposed to ornament.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)