Feb 19 Apr 24, 2021

online only

Sam Francis

In our upcoming exhibition 'Space and Containment', we present 20 mostly early works by American artist Sam Francis (1923-1994). Francis worked far beyond America, had a studio in Tokyo for many years, and incorporated countless impressions of his travels and working stays in Europe into his art. He himself says: "Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment". This quote gave us the inspiration for our title. Despite a very clear focus on the early works up to 1964, the exhibition provides an overview of 40 years of work: from his group of works of interlocking color formations to his so-called edge paintings from Tokyo and the action paintings of the late years.

“Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment”

Sam Francis

This quotation gave us the inspiration for our title. Despite a very clear focus on the early works up to 1964, the exhibition provides an overview of 40 years of work: from his group of works of interlocking colour formations to his empty surface arrangements from Tokyo, the so-called "edge paintings", to the action paintings of the late years.

Exhibition view

Exhibition view

Francis creates his works by laying the support on the floor. The different paints get applied from all sides and sometimes even from above. Francis works and thinks beyond the edges of his paintings. Dynamic traces of color overlap the edges. Areas of different colors separate spaces or run into each other. The result is a cut-out, detached fragment of great energy, which serves as a document of an artistic process

Exhibition view

Exhibition view

"Red, blue, yellow, green, violet - radiantly colored pigments are spontaneously and dynamically applied to paper and canvas. Thin rivulets flow across the ground, forming organic-looking constellations of form, encountering floating areas of color that emerge like luminous islands in a lake of white ground. Seemingly random and intuitive, patterns are woven, synapses established. Sam Francis’ works convey much more to us than they seem to at first glance: the finite delineation of the material through cropping and the dissolution of the separation between inside and outside provide insight into the artistic creative process. "

Claudia Friedrich

Sam Francis viewing works from ladder in his Broadway studio, Santa Monica, California, 1980. Foto von Meibao D. Nee

A catalogue with an essay by Claudia Friedrich is published to accompany the exhibition.

About Sam Francis

The U.S. American painter Sam Francis is one of the most important representatives of Abstract Expressionism following a second generation of artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko or Willem de Kooning.

Artworks in this exhibition
Exhibition catalog