Yves Gaucher

R-CR/1 O/N 68

More and more, I prefer a murmur to a shout, for when it arises from silence it takes on a dimension and then becomes a presence. - Yves Gaucher, 1969 Deeply interested in music, Yves Gaucher was inspired by the work of modern composer Anton Webern to seek visual equivalents to music in his painting and his prints. With this in mind, Gaucher developed a compositional idea based on "signals" - his term for lines of varying lengths that interrupt broad flat fields of colour, like electronic notes sounding in a void of silence. This structure became the basis for his monumental "Grey on Grey" paintings realized between 1967 and 1969. The series is made up of over forty canvases, including "R-CR/1 O/N 68" and "T-PB-11 J-JN-69". The analogy to music in these works extends to the artist's use of colour. HIs titles offer a clue in the form of abbreviated colour notations, and also indicate the date of execution. The colour notations name the hues that slightly tint the grey grounds, distinguishing each painting in the series. The greys of the signals are untinted and modulated only in their tonal gradation toward black or white. Set against the quiet coloured ground, the variations in the neutral signals become apparent, like audible changes in pitch or volume. A play of colour is achieved with the most chameleon of colours - grey - in a context where the finest tuning has been made perceptible.
R-CR/1 O/N 68
acrylic on canvas
203.2 x 365.8 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1989
Accession number