Dark Matter: Pierre Soulages and Pierrette Bloch

Molly Warnock at Artforum:

I’ve found myself thinking a lot about that epigraph in the wake of two back-to-back events this past October. One was Soulages’s death at age 102, the other a visit to the monographic room recently devoted to Pierrette Bloch (1928–2017) at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (MAM). Comprising eight objects from between 1974 and 1999, all belonging to the museum’s permanent collection, the focused presentation offered a welcome opportunity to think broadly about a singularly poetic body of work exhibited regularly in Europe but rarely in the US. Particularly in the wake of Soulages’s death, however, it also invites fresh consideration of the two artists’ longtime dialogue. Introduced in 1949 by Bloch’s art professor Henri Goetz, the pair were friends for nearly seven decades, and their lives and oeuvres were closely intertwined. Early in her career, Bloch used a spare room in Soulages’s house as her studio, and each collected work by the other. Slightly older than the artists of Supports/Surfaces but avowedly attentive to their investigations, Bloch developed a similarly expanded practice of painting, moving beyond the stretched canvas support to engage a broad array of nontraditional and often notably humble materials. Her work brilliantly illuminates both the fecundity and the limits of the “materiological” Soulages brought to the fore through Segalen’s striking image of signs woven in stone.

more here.