Claude Rutault - de-finition-method the accursed stack de-finition-méthode la pile maudite, 2010

Claude Rutault

France 1941

Minimal Art, Conceptual Art

Claude Rutault
Claude Rutault
November 16, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Claude Rutault is a French both minimalist and conceptual artist, best known for the original way of expression he created and titled definition-method, which is basically a manual how to create-update his art piece.

He was born in Trois-Moutiers, France and had a highly important role in art in France since the 1970s. Starting in 1973, Claude Rutault uses a simple method to create new artworks. That year Rutault began repainting the walls of his kitchen and covered at the same time a small painting he had left there by mistake. That event revealed him that the canvas and wall were cohabiting in a relationship that is far from neutral and it would be interesting to explore. Basically, what he did is made the wall an integral part of the artwork. Rutauld created a definition- method explanation, a text that forms the instructions of an evolving work that should be ‘updated’ by its ‘taker’ (collector, museum…).  As he instructs, canvas should be braced on a stretcher, painted the same color as the wall on which it is hung. The rule is to use standard formats available in the trade, be they rectangular, square, round or oval. Hanging arrangement is traditional. The identity of the canvas color with the wall has led to the development of a corpus of over 300 definitions/methods. 

In an absolute gesture, all of Rutault’s paintings prior to 1973 have been entirely repainted following that principle. The artist has broken away from the strict color identity between the canvas and the wall by taking his paintings away from the wall: canvases are stacked, placed on the floor or up against the walls…

The simplicity of his work goes together with his formulation and critical analysis of the art world, founded on the social operation between the work and the artist, their gallery, the collector, the museum and the auction house.

Exposition – suicide was Claude Rutault’s first solo exhibition at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin. On display were 23 works, both historical works from the 1970s in particular as well as nine new works. The main idea was to take down all the exhibits at the end of the first day of the exhibition: buyer would take immediate possession of those canvases that were purchased, and all the others would be immediately destroyed, on the spot.

Despite the fact that the majority of the art world would define Rutault to be a conceptual artist, he doesn’t see himself as such but always as a painter.

Claude Rutault’s work can be found in numerous public collections such as the SMAK Stedelijk Museum; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and Mamco, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain Genève.

He lives and works in La Celle St Cloud, France.

Featured image: Claude Rutault – de-finition/method the accursed stack / dé-finition/méthode “la pile maudite”, 2010. 6 stacks of 10 painted canvases. Photo courtesy Perrotin

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Rutault Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - New York , New York City, NYSolo
2014The Wall The collection Antoine de Galbert La Maison Rouge , ParisGroup
2014Bonnard's Syndrome - Villa ParkCentre for Contemporary Art , AnnemasseGroup
2013Rutault - News Of PaintingGalerie Emmanuel Perrotin - Paris , ParisSolo
2013Works From The Collection 20 Years Philippe Cohen D 'acquisitions - Passage de Retz , ParisGroup
2013Theater in the worldLa Maison Rouge , ParisGroup
2013Stories endless cycle, fall-winter 2013-2014 sequenceMamco - modern and contemporary art museum , GenevaGroup
2013Their time 4: NantesArt Center Hangar at Bananas - The Hab , NantesGroup
2013A hardware traditionFRAC Poitou-Charentes - Angoulême , AngoulêmeGroup
2013BABE - The Best Books Artists and EditorsImmanence, a contemporary art space , ParisGroup
2013Bonjour Monsieur Matisse! Meeting (s)MAMAC - Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary d`Art Nice , NiceGroup
2013An exhibition without texts. Suite for exposure (s) and publication (s), second movementArt House Anthonioz Bernard , Nogent sur ​​MarneGroup
2012If I 'Had a Hammer …Museum of Fine Arts in Nantes , NantesGroup
2012SunsetFRAC Poitou-Charentes - Linazay , LinazayGroup
2012To remember that the wallsAline Vidal Gallery , ParisGroup
2012L 'love of riskMSU - Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb , ZagrebGroup
2012Theatre Of The WorldMona - Museum of Old and New Art , Hobart, TASGroup
2011Exposure suicideGalerie Emmanuel Perrotin - Paris , ParisSolo
2011On Opening ExhibitionThe Consortium , DijonGroup
2011Walls 's houseWorkshop Cantoisel , JoignyGroup
2010Punctuality Guy Ledune , BrusselsSolo
2010We Will not Grow Old TogetherGallery multiple - GDM , ParisGroup
2010Portrait of the artist Motorcyclist, The CNAC Store, GrenobleMuseum of Fine Arts La Chaux-de-Fonds , La Chaux-de-FondsGroup
2009Painting the view is not enoughMarion Meyer Contemporain , ParisSolo
2009Rutault - The Hollow hellContemporary art center , ThiersSolo
2009The Myth of MonochromeArea of concrete art , Mouans SartouxGroup
2009Portrait of the Artist as a motorcyclistSTORE - National Contemporary Art Center of Grenoble , GrenobleGroup
20093rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary ArtMoscow Biennale of contemporary art , MoscowGroup
2009We Will not Grow Old TogetherMarion Meyer Contemporain , ParisGroup
2009François Morellet & RutaultGalerie Jean Brolly , ParisGroup
2008RutaultAngle Contemporary Art, Saint-Paul-Trois-ChâteauxSolo
2008BREAK AND HERITAGES (the 70's)Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium , BrusselsGroup
2008look at all your eyes lookMuseum of Fine Arts in Nantes , NantesGroup
2006Rutault. As if I was deadGalerie Catherine Issert , Saint-Paul de VenceSolo
2006Rutault - (p) RepairsMAMCO - Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary , GenevaSolo
2003Rutault: SeasonsMuseum of Fine Arts in Nancy , NancySolo
2002Rutault - The Painting in the Saami color as the wall is qui it is hungAstrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst , OsloSolo
2002Rutault - Untitled ProvisionallyGalerie Jean Brolly , ParisSolo
1999Rutault - Just a clarificationMartine and Thibault Châtre Gallery , ParisSolo