Bernard Aubertin


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Bernard Aubertin was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses in 1934. Having completed his studies at the State School of Decoration, as a self-taught person, he approached alcubism and futurism. His meeting in 1957 with Yves Klein was fundamental; in fact, from the following year, he will begin the creation of his famous monochrome paintings. Aubertin begins his story as a monochrome painter by making his first "rouge total". The artist's research focuses first on the red color, understood as fire, energy. He created the so-called Tableaux Feu (fire paintings), animating red monochrome canvases, with nails (Tableaux Clous), iron filings (Tableaux Fil de Fer), matches (Parcours d'Allumettes) and various materials, from candles, to iron nets . His conception of painting is metaphysical: through the red he transposes the energy of the soul onto the canvas. The spiritual being reveals itself through art and nothing more than color could represent such a force.

Starting in the 60s, Aubertin introduces fire into its repertoire: an expressive medium that becomes the physical manifestation of its red color. Many of his works consist of abstract compositions created using matches that are then lit by creating spontaneous variations generated by the nature of the flame. The process by which the works are created is intrinsic to the final gesture. The spectator can clearly sense the manifestation of the transformation. To all intents and purposes the destructive nature of fire becomes a creator of rebirth.

Since 1962 Aubertin is one of the founding members of the international Zero movement, participates in their exhibitions and maintains correspondences with Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Piero Manzoni. With them he shares a similar refusal of art as a language and the conviction that it must manifest itself in a simple and austere way. Aubertin's red works gave impulse to an energy and a vibration that were emblematic of the movement.

His artistic research will develop between the '80s and' 90s in performances in which he himself will set fire to pianos and cars, while in recent years the red color of monochromes has been replaced by white, black and gold .

Since 1990 he has lived and worked in Germany, until 2015, the year of his death.