Olivier mosset

Untitled (Monochrome vert, cercle), 1986

Untitled (Monochrome vert, cercle), 1986

From 1985, Olivier Mosset will question the monochromy concept with ‘Constructed Abstract Paintings’, and he will start to give a name to his paintings. The present work highlights how for the artist, turning to monochrome would release the essence of colour, as the primary vehicle for pictorial expression. In fact, Monochrome vert, cercle ensures continuity between “constructed painting” and monochrome, oscillating from the single choice of green to colour to variation of this colour superimposed, from the uniform coloured field to the pattern, subtly suggesting the link to his previous series of Circles by revealing the motif through colour itself.

Olivier Mosset
Untitled (Monochrome vert, cercle), 1986
Acrylic on canvas
140 x 140 cm (55.1 x 55.1 inches)

Olivier Mosset

Since the creation of the BMPT Art Group in the 1960s, formed by Olivier Mosset along with Daniel Buren, Niele Toroni and Michel Parmentier to question ideas about creative authorship, Mosset has focused most of his oeuvre on the idea that the art object itself was more relevant than its creator. Even after the group’s dispersion, the artist maintained this defining requirement in an intransigent way: in seemingly only reductive terms, he defines painting as ” the colour applied to a canvas “.

Olivier Mosset
Untitled, 1974
Acrylic on wood
76 x 76 cm (29 7/8 x 29 7/8 inches)

Olivier Mosset
Untitled, 2007
Polyurethane on canvas
122 x 122 cm (48 1/8 x 48 1/8 inches)

From the 1960s, Mosset became known for his Circle paintings on white monochrome canvases that he produced systematically for eight years, as a way of making fun of the notions of originality and uniqueness linked to the work of art. However, with this repetition from canvas to canvas, this circle took on the value of a logo, referring, beyond the visible reality of the paintings, to the invisible presence of the painter. As for the artist the artwork cannot show anything “beyond what is there”, the experience of monochrome will be the ultimate way to eliminate this risk while tightening the limits of painting more closely.

“A painting need not say that it is art. It expresses a kind of silence that interests me.”
Olivier Mosset

In the United States, in the early 1980’s, he exhibited several times with the ‘Radical Painters’. From the new relationship that the Colour Field painters established, especially in large formats, between viewer and painted surface, they created a monochrome painting of great tonal refinement. Indeed, Mosset will explore the concept of Monochrome paintings and oppose it to his “Circles” series. The artist will make the practice of colour the only vector of his work, saying “what interests me is the moment when what we know turns into what it is, this kind of loss of knowledge in materiality”.



MAMCO, Geneva
25.2.20 – 21.6.20
Olivier Mosset, 2020 © MAMCO, Geneve


30.5.19 – 8.9.19
Olivier Mosset: 
TUTU, 2019 © Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich


Commissioned by Federal Office for Culture, Bern