I recently stumbled upon old work by Claude Viallat, which strikes me as a precursor to the Casualist aesthetic. Born in Nimes, France in 1936, Claude Viallat used to show at Leo Castelli, and had his last NYC solo show at Cheim & Read in 2002. He attended the Ecole de Beaux
Arts de Montpellier in the South of France (1955-1959) and the Ecole des
Beaux Arts de Paris (1962-63); His first solo show was in 1966. Currently he has a solo at Bernard Ceysson in Saint-Étienne.
"Viallat's work is a little like this too. Blinded by the form that is nothing more than a pretext, bothered by the incongruous and vulgar supports, the spectator will sometimes be thrown off course. He or she will think that it is all the same where in fact there are only extreme differences and perpetual beginnings. It is interesting to note that the work continues to resist forty years later. For certain observers, painting on such non-conformist supports, or relying on the pictorial conventions of the decorative arts, is still a way to brave prohibitions. These reactions are interesting given the reigning atmosphere of conformity that even the most novel approaches do not escape. In any case, they serve as proof that Viallat remains pertinent. Far from applying his pre-established system, in the manner of certain minimalists, Viallat incessantly puts it at risk, in the image of the bull's horn entering painting's flesh and constituting its truth."
"Claude Viallat: Peintures et objets," Bernard Ceysson, Sait-Etienne, France. Through January 31, 2012.