Niele Toroni | T Magazine

Jul 15 2015

Switzerland’s political reputation as a global mediator may be well earned, but when it comes to the nation’s gold mine of artists, a kind of creative isolationism is still in effect — rarely do they exhibit outside of Europe. But this summer, Niele Toroni, a Swiss painter born in Muralto (the Italian-speaking border region nestled in the high peaks of Locarno), lands at the Swiss Institute for his first-ever solo institutional show in New York. At 78, Toroni has formed an everlasting bond to repetition, and abides by a pact he made in 1967 proclaiming autonomy, or painting free of representation. His “Travail-Peinture” method never wavers: He makes strokes with a number 50 paintbrush at 30-centimeter intervals. Toroni is a marquee name in the French minimalist BMPT group (Daniel Buren, Olivier Mosset, Michel Parmentier, Toroni), and his faithfulness to conceptualism is particularly Zen. The painter, who has resided in Paris since 1959, “is often asked why he is doing the same thing,” explains Clément Delépine, the assistant curator of Swiss Institute, in a video premiering exclusively here at T. “You have to understand that in his mind he’s not doing the same thing. It varies in shape, width, varies depending the pressure.” As the video slyly reveals, repetition needn’t be redundant.

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