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L’affaire tournesols – Bertrand Lavier

Bice Curiger, Marjolaine Lévy, Bernard Marcadé

Bertrand Lavier has conceived the entrance gate of the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles by reproducing Vincent’s signature in gigantic dimensions. This entrance represents the enlarged detail of a picture in which the characteristic Van Gogh touch is expressed as well as Bertrand Lavier’s own touch. Since 1980, Bertrand Lavier has been covering various found objects such as fire extinguishers, pianos and pictures with a striking heavy trace, in order to create his metasignature, by means of these conceptual explorations.

With regard to “L’affaire tournesols”, his exhibition at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles, he smilingly admits to showing “the whole painted work”. This declaration is probably quite close to the truth because examples of the “painting” theme peculiar to his “construction sites”— as he calls them (“chantiers”) —will be on view. We will discover in particular mirrors painted with the “Van Gogh touch”, including a work in which will be reflected Vincent van Gogh’s original work, Self-Portrait with Pipe and Straw Hat, 1887,  along with works making reference to recent art history, such as the “Colour Field Painting”, and to Frank Stella (one thinks of that work which he has now transposed in yellow neon).

The title of this show, “L’affaire tournesols”, seems like a double allusion, to Van Gogh, needless to say, but also to Tintin and his companion Professeur Tournesol, the eponymous character of the exhibition.


  • Pages: 64 p.
  • Dimensions: 22,8 × 28,5 cm
  • Languages: French, English
  • Conception graphique : Studio Marie Lusa
  • Publisher: Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles / Les Presses du réel
  • Date: September 2014
  • ISBN: 9782840667322
  • Price: 18 €