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exhibition « quatre tableaux »

25 may to 29 september 1991

A great many exhibitions serve as milestones through the artistic life of Olivier Debré, both in France and abroad. Nonetheless this is the first major solo exhibition organised by a contemporary art institution since 1975.


The four ‘Large Paintings’ constitute the beginnings of a new format for the artist. The paintings made for this exhibition to fit the dimensions of the walls are the largest paintings Olivier Debré has painted. The huge size of the canvas and the movements on it have already been tried by him on the stage curtains of the Comédie Française theatre, and is used here to treat the issue of the painting as a window onto the world.


Olivier Debrés painting is completely stripped of anecdote; it is the painting of space and light. The titles he uses are the evoked expression of an emotion tied to a moment in time, to a place, embodied by a chromatic atmosphere. In this way we are very close to the landscape, indeed within the landscape. A landscape where the boundaries and the horizon have been pushed outside of the painting’s frame. Thus the spectator finds himself at the actual centre of a huge detail. But he is also at the centre of a painting with titles which are falsely soothing. They describe the paintings as they appear in physical terms. They are all about thickness and transparency. They continue to assert themselves as a painted surface on which movement is recorded. The phenomenon expands with the format. All is just paint. The ‘Fondation Saint-Louis’ and the CCC are also showing a collection of paintings by Olivier Debré which make reference to the river Loire, at the Chateau of Amboise from 13 July to 29 September 1991. The paintings are displayed in the Medieval room whose windows overlook the river, placing them in direct contact with their original natural environment.