Rob Wynne: Radiant Darkness

7 January - 4 March 2023
Installation Views
Press release

Galerie Mitterrand is pleased to present Radiant Darkness, a new solo exhibition by Rob Wynne to be held in Paris next year from January 7 to March 4. Rob Wynne is a North American artist who considers language a material, placing it at the heart of his artistic practice. Famous for his installation-like exhibitions that are a cross between Surrealism and a cabinet of curiosities, his works display a certain technical and iconographic eclecticism. 


Rob Wynne began his artistic career in the 1970s, and the common thread of his work was immediately apparent: textured materials. Initially through the practice of Mail Art before moving to Post-Surrealism, Wynne collects quotes and images, and freely appropriates elements from literature, pop culture, European classics, and visual arts, as well as ordinary, mundane conversations. Once extracted from their original context, he combines and juxtaposes them to new associations, sometimes kitsch, sometimes ironic. This practice of quoting is also expressed using traditional techniques such as embroidery, ceramics, and glass, bringing a degree of refinement to his works.


In 1996, Rob Wynne had his first exhibition at Holly Salomon Gallery in New York. Entitled Sleepwalking, it was closely followed by a second show in 1999, You’re Dreaming. For this second exhibition, the artist transformed the space inside the famous gallery, turning it into a gigantic cabinet of curiosities steeped in Surrealism, irony, and poetry. The walls were entirely covered in brightly coloured wallpaper and repugnant-looking insects. The installation also featured photographs presented with extracts of text from literature and television, or snippets from personal conversations.


The artist conceived his new exhibition at the gallery along the same lines. Here again, Rob Wynne plays with scale and perception, immersing visitors in a vast Baroque dreamlike decor. To the multitude of works on the walls is added a monumental, suspended work. Presented together are classic portraits and landscapes, naturalist collages, scientific photograms, and embroidered clothing, most of which were made in the 1970s and 80s. This exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to (re)discover thirty years of the artist’s work through a vast panorama of approximately fifty pieces.


Rob Wynne was born in 1948 in New York, where he lives and works. In 2012, he had a solo show at The Norton Museum of Art (Florida), and more recently at The Brooklyn Museum (New York) in 2020. His works are presented in the collections of prestigious international museums such as MoMA and the Whitney Museum in New York, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In France, his works are featured in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, the FRAC Pays de la Loire, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.