Organized by Arne Glimcher, the founder of Pace Gallery, Tamara Corm, Director of Pace London and co-curator, the seminal exhibition features eight monumental paintings on loan from important UK and European museum and foundation’s collections, some of which are displayed publicly for the first time. Jean Dubuffet: Theatres of memory is on view from 13 September to 21 October 2017 at 6 Burlington Gardens. Made from an inventory of cut-out paintings and drawings – large and small, figurative and abstract, natural and architectural – each painting is a panoramic assemblage that brings together memories of sites and scenes from the artist’s mind. Dubuffet titled the series after Frances Yates’ book ‘The Art of Memory’, which presents the ‘memory techniques’ used by Cicero and Middle Ages’ orators that enabled them to remember storehouses of knowledge before the invention of writing. For Dubuffet, the Théâtres de mémoire present “multiple recollections of places and scenes, which at any given moment, jostle in our memory.” Dubuffet in the introduction to the Théâtres de mémoire, Catalogue des travaux, XXXII, Paris, Les Editions de minuit, 1982.
The exhibition marks 50 years of Pace representing Dubuffet and follows Pace’s tradition of staging landmark exhibitions on the artist, including two shows of Théâtres de mémoire presented in 1977 and 1979 in New York. An illustrated catalogue featuring an introduction by Arne Glimcher and an essay by Dr. Kent Minturn will accompany the exhibition. In his essay, Minturn is concerned with Dubuffet’s interest in memory and the significance of the Théâtres de mémoire works : “They are the gateway to the artist’s chief interests and obsessions that will dominate the last 10 years of his artistic production.”
Jean Dubuffet, Vestiges and devenirs, June 23, 1976 acrylic on glued paper mounted on canvas (25 sections) 55-1/8″ x 9′ 3-7/16″ (140 cm x 283 cm) No. 67262; Scène et site, October 27, 1979 acrylic on paper (4 sections) 20-1/16″ x 27-9/16″ (51 cm x 70 cm) No. 67575; Site avec auto, November 12, 1979 acrylic on canvas-backed paper (7 sections) 20-1/16″ x 26″ (51 cm x 66 cm) No. 67576; Les commentaires, May 24, 1978 acrylic on glued paper mounted on canvas (30 sections) 55-1/8″ x 80-5/16″ (140 cm x 204 cm) No. 67261