A central figure in post-war French art, Raymond Hains developed an artistic universe that playfully borrows from the real world and explores the visual and metaphoric possibilities of linguistic systems. Having primarily acquired a reputation during the late 1940s for his work with torn posters, the “affiches lacérées”, and later, “palissades”, Hains plays with verbal and visual associations, referring to historical moments and reflecting central elements of the emerging consumer culture of his time.
Together with Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely and Jacques Villeglé, Hains was a founding member of Nouveau Réalisme, the French counterpart to Pop Art established in 1960, which sought to reshape the relationship between art and life. Even though the group was short-lived and came into existence at an early stage in Hains’ career, the values of connecting the traditions of fine art with popular culture accompanied the artist throughout his life. In the current exhibition at Galerie Max Hetzler, works from Hains’ matches series are on view. The artist initiated these in 1964, while residing in Italy, inspired by Claes Oldenburg’s work at the Venice Biennale that same year.