A new site-specific installation by Harold Ancart features in Painting the Night (Peindre la nuit), an exhibition exploring nighttime as a rich source of inspiration for modern and contemporary painting. Ancart will be showing a single untitled work measuring fifteen by forty-four feet.
Curated by Jean-Marie Gallais, head of exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, the exhibition approaches night as both an evolving and a topical subject of modernity, which relates to societal questions around commercial opening times, the effects of technological development from the illumination of streets to mobile devices, politics (the French Nuit debout movement included nightly assemblies in 2016), and scientific advancement, among other connections.
The selection of works in the exhibition, which is itself intended to be a "nocturnal experience," focuses on the perception of night rather than its iconography. In an Artforum review of a solo exhibition by Ancart in New York in 2015, Chinnie Ding described how "vibrant plants, bonfires, and astral confetti in the show’s seven oil-stick paintings thrum in tropical colors against abundant, magnetic fields of black that concentrate contemplation, evoking lacquerware worlds. . . . Seen up close, even the color-flecked carbon black sometimes suggests ripped rind more than deep space." Ancart recalled a visit to the Musée d’Orsay where a painting of a nocturnal scene inspired his work in that exhibition: "There were a whole bunch of masterpieces on offer but the one that really made an impression was a painting by Félix Vallotton of a black landscape under a blue night sky. In the center of the painting is a full moon and directly below is its unbroken reflection in a serendipitously wide river. . . . I was struck by the thought that this was the only place in the world where the moon and its reflection were really made of the same stuff."
Cover Image: Harold Ancart, Untitled, 2018 (detail)