Henri Barande at Saatchi Gallery
The new exhibition of work by Henri Barande at the Saatchi Gallery is being billed as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. It’s a reasonable statement, since Barande is an artist who has craved secrecy and anonymity throughout his career, and asserts that he will only show his work once in any single country. For Barande, then, this exhibition in London is certainly a once in a lifetime event.
For the first 50 years of his career, the artist kept his practice entirely private, and so remained almost completely unknown in the art world. All of his pieces are unsigned, untitled, and undated, in pointed opposition to traditional museum etiquette. This practice also defies the market that drives the art industry, and Barande has never allowed any of his pieces to be offered for sale. He has also been known to destroy or bury his work periodically, particularly his sculptures.
Around two decades ago, the American critic and curator David Galloway persuaded Barande to share his work with the public, resulting in a series of select publications and exhibitions. The show at the Saatchi consists of 45 large-scale canvases that stretch dramatically across the gallery’s expansive spaces. Many of these takes motifs from great works of art, confirming that while Barande may have been working privately, he wasn’t working in a bubble. These are pieces that are informed by a carefully considered practice and knowledge of art history.
In contrast to these large paintings, a series of 25 sculptures are touchingly petite, often recalling found objects or preparatory maquettes. This tension of scale between image and object works well and draws out the artist’s interest in the dialogue between the found and the fabricated. This exhibition offers a genuinely unique chance to see the work of Henri Barande in the flesh, and the work on show doesn’t disappoint.
Henri Barande is at the Saatchi Gallery from 4th October until 31st October 2016, for further information visit here.
For further information about Henri Barande visit here.