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Olivier Mosset: Painting, Even

Olivier Mosset describes himself as a painter first and an artist second.  His unusual identification with painting stems from his underlying philosophy—one that questions notions of unique authorship and asserts that artwork is possible only in the context of a larger, living collectivity. Mosset’s work— from motorcycle installations, to stripes and circles in bold, contrasting colors, to monochromatic paintings—demonstrates the singular intelligence and formal skill that underlies everything he does. 

Born in 1944 in Berne, Switzerland, Mosset was part of BMPT, a group of artists which also included Daniel Buren, Niele Toroni and Michel Parmentier, and who shared a commitment to the importance of the artwork itself and the collaborative processes behind it, over the myth of the single artistic genius.  Still, with a wispy, full-grown beard and an upward-pointing eyebrow, Mosset is certainly an individual.

In a recent study on the artist, Olivier Mosset: Painting, Even (les presses du réel–New York Series, 2013), published in conjunction with a New York exhibition at The Kitchen and the French Embassy, French philosopher and curator Catherine Perret dedicates 46 chapters to Mosset's oeuvre. The text demonstrates, through both a study of Mosset's biography and a theoretical exploration of his work, that anonymity, neutrality, and discretion are still among the key characteristics of his work.

Olivier Mosset: Painting, Even is the first in a series of catalogs produced by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and les presses du réel as part of les presses du réel–New York Series. The second, DANSE: an anthology was published in January in conjunction with, DANSE, a New York City-wide festival of performance and ideas that will take place in May 2014. Five more catalogs are due to be published in fall 2014. 

About Catherine PerretPhilosopher, translator, and curator, Catherine Perret is a professor of aesthetics and art theory at Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint Denis. At the intersection of critical theory and psychoanalytic anthropology, her work explores artistic practices, cultures and contemporary sensibilities in their complex relationship with transmission and memory. Born in 1956 in Paris, she was Program Director at the International College from 1995 to 2001 and has been a partner of the European Network of Cultural Studies since 2007.  She taught from 1990 to 2011 at the Université Paris 10 Nanterre and in many art schools.

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