French artist Daniel Buren, internationally known for his site-specific works “in situ,” mounts his second exhibition at The Arts Club of Chicago. Buren previously exhibited at The Arts Club’s Mies van der Rohe-designed interior space at 109 E. Ontario in 1994. Using Mies’ architectural grid, he painted the gallery walls in a checkerboard pattern of bright colors, adding Plexiglas panels painted with his signature white stripes. He mirrored the columns, removed the front window curtains to continue his grid and added stripes on the windows, totally transforming the interior space.
12 years later Buren has returned to transform The Arts Club’s new Vinci-Hamp designed space. Again using Plexiglas, he has hung panels, this time diagonally on aluminum poles within a self-imposed grid. Using four colors, hot pink, orange, blue, yellow, and a transparent sheet of Plexiglas onto which Buren has painted his signature stripes, he has created an intense visual and sensory experience.
Buren was born in Paris in 1938, and began painting in the early 1960s, experimenting with stripes that would become his signature. By 1965 Buren had begun making paintings with linen pre-printed with alternating bands of white and color that he found at the Marché Saint-Pierre, a textiles market in Montmartre, Paris. By reducing his paintings to their simplest visual and physical elements, eliminating all painterly gesture and subjectivity, and by presenting vertical stripes, 8.7 centimeters in width, Buren questions the traditional expectations of painting. Situating his stripes within pre-existing elements – exterior architecture, interior space, concrete steps, and train doors – Buren offers the viewer an alternative way of looking at the functioning world and it’s relationship to art.
Crossing Through the Colors is Buren’s sixth exhibition in Chicago. He exhibited Up and Down, In and Out, Step by Step, A Sculpture in a group show, Europe in the Seventies (1977) and had a solo show Watch the Doors, Please (1982 –84) at The Art Institute of Chicago; had a solo exhibition Intersecting Axes: A Work in Situ at The Renaissance Society (1983); he created a site-specific piece for the entrance to the Museum of Contemporary Art at its previous space on Ontario (November 1994); and Rigidity/Flexibility on the Grid: Situated Works was exhibited at The Arts Club (1994). He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe, most recently The Eye of the Storm: Works in Situ in 2005 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. He teaches at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany. Daniel Buren lives and works in situ.