Olivier Mosset, Untitled, 2016, sprayed polyurethane on canvas, 120 × 120 inches (304.8 × 304.8 cm). Photo by Rob McKeever
In pursuit of formal rigor and the physical roots of painting, Olivier Mosset’s art is direct and self-evident, suppressing figuration, subjectivity, symbol, and metaphor in a practice that at once contains and rejects the dialectical history of painting. A member of the minimalist collective BMPT that also included Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier, and Niele Toroni, Mosset’s exploration is dedicated to interrogating fixed ideas about creative authorship. BMPT reflected critically on the spectacular, self-conscious nature of the new avant-garde in France. They suppressed subjectivity and expressiveness in favor of practical systems, such as the utilization of neutral, repetitive patterns and an apparent eschewal of aesthetic historical grounding. The 200 or more identical oil paintings that Mosset produced between 1966 and 1974, of a small black circle at the center of a square white canvas, are seen as the acme of BMPT’s experimental approaches to painting, which sought to challenge established methods of art-making and theorize a new social and political function for art and artists. Associated with conceptual abstraction, Mosset’s works represent pure color and shape, inciting open-ended physical experiences of surface, scale, and pattern.
Olivier Mosset was born in 1944 in Bern, Switzerland. Mosset’s work has been featured in several solo and group exhibitions. Recent solo museum exhibitions include Musée de Beaux-Arts La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland (1985); Centre d’Art Contemporain, France (1985); “Olivier Mosset 65–85,” Musée Sainte-Croix, France (1985); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (1986); Musée Saint Pierre Art Contemporain, Lyon (1987); “Arbeiten/travaux/works 1966–2003,” Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, Switzerland (2003); “Windows,” Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2006); Museo d’Arte di Mendrisio, Switzerland (2009); “A step backwards,” Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, France (2010); “Leaving the Museum,” Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2012); “Sous apparence,” Opéra national de Paris, Palais Garnier, Paris (2012); “Fakes, fêlures and walls,” Musée Régional d'Art Contemporain Languedoc-Roussilon à Sérignan, France (2013).
Mosset currently lives and works in New York and Tuscon, Arizona.