Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Wade GuytonFive Paintings, 2013-2015

Born in 1972 in Hammond, Indiana, Wade Guyton lives and works in New York. Since the early 2000s, he has pursued a rigorous analysis of the conditions and effects of digital image production, exploring the realms of abstract painting through an on going interrogation of the pictorial process. He stands today,alongside artists such as Christopher Wool, Trisha Donnelly or Seth Prize, as one of the key figures in the contemporary American scene.

While Guyton routinely employs traditional painting mediums such as linen canvas, his compositions are designed directly on the screen, then given material form using industrial printers. Just as digital technology becomes ever more sophisticated, Guyton adapts his creative process to provoke forms of interference, sending data-heavy commands to his printer and subjecting the canvas to multiple ink-jet impressions. The resulting transfer errors and imperfections – streaking and other printing defects – provide a purely random quality, contributing to a poetical reading of the works.

In 2022, the piece Untitled (2013) was added to the Museum of Modern Art’s collections, thanks to an exceptional donation. This painting was the starting point around which the exhibition – the artist’s first in a French museum –took shape. Created between 2013 and 2015, the five paintings bear witness to a brief period during which Guyton took a particular interest in the colour black. Four of them were incidentally designed from the same Photoshop file composed exclusively of black: the printed image competes with white, its reserve space. An ambiguous relationship thus develops, within each canvas, between figure and background, and more broadly, between the artworks and the Museum’s wall accommodating them. “I was letting the black paintings “un-become” paintings, or express themselves more architecturally, ”Guyton explains, entrusting to the surrounding space the task of circumscribing the limits of the works. As such, this porosity of boundaries creates a tension between abstraction and figuration intended to allow each painting to inhabit its ideal form. The fifth canvas in this set, never previously shown, extends this tension by juxtaposing two exhibition scenes featuring a mise en abyme of the same two monumental paintings presented here.


Curator : Julia Garimorth, assisted by Sylvie Moreau-Soteras