The Box hold the first major exhibit of the work of Helmut Federle in France since 2002. Thanks to special loans, the exhibit presents a unique collection of nineteen components arranged as an uninterrupted dialog between almost monumental pieces and smaller format canvases. These pieces—like Dark Night Three, set next to MacArthur Park—exhibit a similar and surprising presence and virtual space. The concept was to bring together as many major pieces as possible from French private and public collections.To begin with, it is a dialog, a confrontation between older and more recent pieces. It is the first dialog of this kind ever to be organized. The pieces are arranged according to this confrontation.
Secondly, in each piece, we notice the search for a sign, always new, original and supreme, and at the same time a simple study of light and color. We also notice the paradox, in that the large canvases are older paintings while the recent paintings are of a smaller scale. For about a decade, Helmut Federle has chosen to abandon the very large format, which he considers to be potentially too showy, in order to concentrate his pictorial concept. His work moves a bit “backwards” in this way. Yesterday’s large format is the “model” for today’s small canvases, while many other painters see the small format as laboratory for future large canvases. Helmut Federle reverses the traditional mechanism. The concentration given to his recent canvases serves as manifesto.