This mid-career retrospective presents some sixty pieces produced by the artist between 1992 and 2009. Among the paintings featured is Promenade en 56 tableaux, 1993, which introduced the notion of mapping that would become a dominant feature of her subsequent work. In this first example, the starting point is an art tourist’s map of the Marais neighbourhood in Paris. In Le Dépôt de peinture, 2000, the mapping is inspired by a cracked surface discovered at the bottom of a can of paint.

Savard’s reading of two publications on the work of Québec artist Fernand Leduc was the impetus for the series Un plein un vide, 2001, in which she attaches the pictorial qualities they describe to shapes derived from Leduc’s paintings. The title Les Couleurs de Cézanne dans les mots de Rilke, 36/100 – Essai, 1998, refers to letters that Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to his wife about the paintings of Cézanne. Fascinated by the poet’s rich vocabulary, Savard imagines what “du blanc comme couleur” or “jaune d’un vert terreux” might look like. A decade later, she takes on another monument of modern art, Marcel Duchamp’s Tu m’, 1918, which he himself considered a summary of his previous works and concerns. This artistic legacy provides the inspiration for Savard’s most ambitious work to date, Tu m’, un dernier tableau, 2009, a spectacular transposition of the famous colour chart into real space: a curve seven metres long that extends out from the wall, forming a transition between two and three dimensions. This “last painting” touches on the illusory nature of two-dimensional perspectival space and the debate about the death of painting. It concludes, and brilliantly sums up, this survey of an artist in mid-career that takes us on a journey to the very heart of painting.

Curated by: Lesley Johnstone