Place perception: Nathalie Du Pasquier’s exploration of vibrancy, geometry and space

Place perception: Nathalie Du Pasquier’s exploration of vibrancy, geometry and space

French painter Nathalie du Pasquier is more commonly associated with the Memphis group, the design collective which revolutionised design in the 1980s. However, Du Pasquier’s work has developed in a personal, intimate direction since the group’s dismantling in 1987, and moved beyond the playful graphic illustrations she was originally known for. 

This month, London’s Pace Gallery celebrates the artist’s work with a solo exhibition of her recent paintings, drawings and sculptures. Titled ‘From Time to Time,’ the show explores the ways Du Pasquier has challenged the rules of representations of forms, and arrangement of objects, presenting a body of work that blurs the boundaries between art and design. The exhibit is also the first in a series of three solo exhibitions chronicling Du Pasquier’s work this year, with two shows following at the Camden Arts Centre, London, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. 

The exhibition features a series of abstract still lifes, studies of space presented as geometric landscapes in a palette of reds, blues and brown, with three-dimensional elements completing the canvas. There is also a small selection of delightful pen and pencil drawings depicting the same scenes, and the exhibition is punctuated by geometric, totem-like sculptures – a medium the artist has explored since 2011. 

Untitled, by Nathalie Du Pasquier, 2013. Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani. © Nathalie Du Pasquier

The paintings range from bold, flat depictions to more delicate representations of space, interspersed by pen drawings that all together create a clear panorama of the artist’s visual world. ‘Through the representation, I learned about looking and transforming what I saw into a painting,’ says Du Pasquier. ‘The abstract work is a different kind of position. I become a builder, an inventor.’

Du Pasquier also worked on the exhibition design, conceived as an overall installation which transforms Pace’s London outpost in a dynamic, colourful environment focused around a bright red room and featuring lines of colour interrupting the white gallery.  

‘The paintings in the red room are traditional still-lifes representing abstract constructions, and you do not see them when you enter the exhibition,’ explains the artist. ‘What you see instead, is the recent work where I have composed abstract paintings, done in the last two years, with three-dimensional elements that show the scars of time. What I want to show here is this continuous shift from one position to another. It is in that movement that I recharge the dynamo.’

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