Gérard Singer


Somewhere between art and architecture, Gérard Singer’s œuvre is deeply marked by a sense of innovation and commitment, introducing new ways of seeing and conceiving space.

His experiments, developed over four decades, are nurtured by a close relation with the mountain and his intensive activity as a mountaineer.

In the postwar years, the peerless draughtsman Gérard Singer embarked on a career as a painter. Persuaded that the politics of art had a role to play in the public sphere, he became a leading figure in the socialist realist movement, and then veered towards figurative abstraction and sculpture.

The exhibition presents his research undertaken from the 1960s on, marking the shift from painting to the three-dimensional space, and then to the urban scale.

Singer’s curiosity about technological progress led him to experiment with techniques and materials peculiar to the word of industry: pictures made of vinyl, thermoformed and “bubbled” PVC sculptures, negative moulds of expanded polystyrene, maquettes made of resin and polyurethane concrete…

In the 1970s, in the context of the 1% budget earmarked for art projects (in public buildings), Singer worked increasingly with architects (Andrault & Parat, J. Balladur, E. Albert…). Devised as “counter-architectures”, his “practicable environments” refer through their organic form to spectacular geological reliefs and usher in a new perception of the urban space.

Gérard Singer was also one of the first artists to make use—from 1983 on—of digital logic systems as a creative technique, which he would introduce as a Professor at the Paris School of Fine Arts. The Paris-Bercy Canyoneaustrate (1986-88) is still a pioneering project, like a manifesto of that artificial nature, “simulated” and fashioned by digital mastery.

Conceived in collaboration with the Galerie Mercier & Associés, this show is one of the first retrospectives devoted to Gérard Singer, whose work was exhibited by the Galerie Jeanne Bucher between 1966 and 1996, and shown at the Centre Pompidou in 1992, as part of the group exhibition “Regard multiple”.