Dominique Chapuis

lives and works in Frankfurt on the Main and Berlin

About the work of Dominique Chapuis ... mehr >

The wise ones know white: A reflection on the work of Dominique Chapuis by Eugen Gomringer

Without doubt, the sages know it. But they are not the only ones. From the moment when concrete poetry became closely associated with concrete art, the knowledge of the sages has been concrete poetry’s first and authentic message. Concrete poetry’s message has certainly been influenced by a major phase in art, monochrome white. The most well-known monochrome artists were colleagues at the Art Academy of Düsseldorf, and, before them, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene wrote their manifesto in the 1950s.

Nevertheless, works in white are not a fashion. White is always present: It contains all colors. Moreover, anything white must be seen in relation to the white that surrounds it, in calm and even anticipation. A white surface is therefore never white in the absolute. The knowledge of a sage is therefore never dull or lacking spirit. This is why monochrome art repeats structures and intonations. Faced with a white surface, the imagination can run wild.

This describes exactly what is going on in the works of Dominique Chapuis, whose shows are known for white surfaces that force observation. Her white canvases are perfect because she builds them with very smooth white paper. Underlying white layers hint at the characteristic construction of her structures, and are noticed by the eye and hand that lightly brushes them. Horizontal strips, generally of irregular and narrow width, are placed in a certain order. These strips stretch across the canvases and even extend beyond their edges. Measuring the width of the strips and the spaces that separate them is worthwhile. Taken together these measurements comprise a parameter of the whole. Let’s take one work as an example: six groups of strips are placed horizontally across a vertical surface measuring 80 x 80 cm. First we notice that each group forms one unit and that the strips are stretched one on top of the other in the same way in all but one of the six. In three groups, the bottom strip is the widest, measuring 45 mm, a 20 mm strip lays on top of it, and then a 10 mm strip on top of that to complete the surface. The other groups have an additional strip of 35 mm. Each succeeding strip sits a little off center, rather than exactly centered on each underlying strip—with the exception of one of the last 10 mm strips, which is centered on the strip beneath it—such that each group has the effect of completely changing the canvas. The spaces between the groups of strips open other possibilities, with vertical margins ranging from 125 to 65 mm or from 45 to 20 mm. And all of this in a strictly white piece! The esthetic order offers the naked eye infinite possibilities.

Notwithstanding her cleanly drawn structures, Dominique Chapuis is rendering white paintings. For this she chooses what concrete art knows—metric functions and the construction of groups, as well as simple materials. Other artists working in white, such as Raimund Girke in the 1990s, tried to provoke movement using a variety of horizontals. Günther Uecker may also be considered an artist working in white despite his untiring use of nails. Pithy, unadorned white is used to overpaint and subordinate black fingerprints. Here, we have the obvious extreme differences and harmonious proportions that define concrete art and what it teaches, which the work of Dominique Chapuis celebrates. She holds to the principles of effort and result. It is possible for an artist to prepare strips of equal length and width like building materials or a standard product that one can get. Didn’t the writer begin with the premise that concrete art sets out on the road that leads to the do-it-yourself store! Preparations, proportions and calculations on the surface of the canvas begin by choosing the dimensions of the work and materials.

Once at ease with the white, viewers can have a tactile experience, if they have not already given in to the temptation to touch with their fingertips. The fine layers of paper can really be felt. On a small surface and with relatively simple materials, sight and touch unite. The shadows made by the paper in relief emphasize the visual in this white work.
The artistic domain of Dominique Chapuis is a rigorous and exemplary show of concrete art. In contrast to works of abstract art, each of her works is not a reduction but an expansion.

The sages know not only what white is but also what harmony and beauty are—as can be read in one of Plato’s Socratic dialogues, The Philebus.


1952 born in Chalon-sur-Saône
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Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions

Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
Winternitzov Villa, Prague (S)
Rodgau Galerie, Rektor-Geißler-Haus, Rodgau (G), Frankfurt (G)
galerie wuensch aircube, Linz (S)
Hofgut, Reinheim (G)
Säulenhalle, Groß-Umstadt (G)
Dauerhaftigkeit der Kunst, Seminar + Ausstellung, Kurator Bozena Kowalska, Warsaw (G)
Galerie Ulli Lang, Traube Tonbach, Baiersbronn (G)
Kunstraum Roy, Kunnersdorf bei Görlitz (S)
Elektrownia w Radomniu, Poland (G)
Gallery 9, Amsterdam (G)
Kunstraum Roy, Kunnersdorf bei Görlitz (G)
Verein für aktuelle Kunst /Ruhrgebiet e.V., Oberhausen (G)
Vy’stavni’ si’n Sokolská 26 und Industrial Gallery, Ostrava, Czech Republic (S)
Galerie Ulli Lang, Traube Tonbach, Baiersbronn (G)
Seligenstädter RegioMuseum, Seligenstadt (G)
in viso, Groß-Umstadt (G)
Kunstraum Roy, Kunnersdorf bei Görlitz (G)
Fürstenlager, Bensheim-Auerbach (G)
Uniwersytet slaski, w.Katowicach-wydzial artystyczny, w.Cieszynie, Poland (G)
Mia Art Galery, Bozena Kowalskas Collection, Breslau (G)
Gallery 9 contemporary art, Amsterdam (G)
Kunstraum Roy, Kunnersdorf bei Görlitz (G)
Gallery 9 contemporary art, Amsterdam (G)
Center of Art, el Gallery, Elblag, Poland (G)
galerie m beck, Homburg/Saar (G)
Gallery XS, Kielce, Poland (G)
Elektrownia w Radomiu, Poland (G)
Galeria Delfiny, Warsaw (G)
KüFo, Bonn (G)
Haus der Stadtgeschichte, Offenbach (G)
Kommunale Galerie, Mörfelden-Waldorf (G)
in viso, Groß-Umstadt (G)
2017 Museum Modern Art, Hünfeld (G)
XS Gallery, Kielce, Poland (G)
Galerie Delfiny, Warsaw (G)
Kunstraum Roy, Gerichtskrtscham, Kunnersdorf bei Görlitz (G)
Remisengalerie, Schloss Philippsruhe, Hanau (G)
Damenbau Fürstenlager, Bensheim-Auerbach (G)
Dom Literatury Lodz, Poland (G)
in viso, Groß-Umstadt (G)
4th Edition of the International Exhibition GRID, Gallery of the Institut of Art, University of Silesia, Ciezyn, Poland (G)
Victor Vasarely Museum, Budapest (G)
2016 galerie m. beck, Schwedenhof/am Römermuseum, Homburg/Saar (G)
Künstlerforum Remagen (G)
4. Internationaler André-Evard-Kunstpreis der Messmer Foundation, Messmer Foundation Kunsthalle in Riegel (G)
Museum Modern Art, Hünfeld (G)
galerie m. beck, Schwedenhof am Roemermuseum, Homburg/Saar (G)
Gallery 9, Amsterdam (G)
Kunsthaus Rehau (G)
Galerie XXI, Kurator: Dr.Bozéna Kowalska, Warsaw (G)
International Art Fair,  Warsaw (G)
Galeria Sztuki Wspólczesnej Esta, Gliwice/Gliwitz, Poland (G)
Dom Literatury w Lodz, Poland (G)
galeria na pietrze, Koszalin, Poland (G)
Kunstraum Roy, Gerichtskretscham, Kunnersdorf bei Görlitz (G)
Elektrownia w Radomiu, Poland (G)
Galeria Delfiny, Warsaw (G)
XS Gallery, Institute of Fine Arts, Jan Koranowski University, Kielce, Poland (G)
Radziejowice, Poland (G)
Kunsthaus Schill, Stuttgart (G)
in viso, Groß-Umstadt (G)
2015 Galerie m. beck, Schwedenhof am Roemermuseum, Homburg/Saar (G)
Kunstmesse Frankfurt, Galerie m. beck, Schwedenhof am Roemermuseum, Homburg/Saar (G)
Neugestaltung und Erweiterung der Stiftungsausstellung – Sammlung Jürgen Blum, Museum Modern Art, Hünfeld (G)
BWA Ostrowiec, Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, Poland (G)
Kunstraum Roy, Kunnersdorf bei Görlitz, Poland (G)
Elisabeth Anna Palais, Oldenburg (G)
Galerie XXI, Warsaw (G)
Mazowieckie Centrum Sztuki Wspólcesnej, Poland (G)
Elektrownia“ w Radomiu, Poland (G)
Museum der Fotografie, Görlitz, Poland (G)
Galerie 9 Contemporary Art, Amsterdam (G)
2014 XS Gallery, Institute of Fine Arts, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland (G)
Galerie XXI, Warsaw (G)
Galerie von Waldenburg, Berlin (S)
Künstlerforum Bonn (G)
Galerie Lodz, Poland (G)
Galerie 9 Contemporary Art, Amsterdam (G)
2013 Gerichtskretscham, Kunnersdorf (G)
Galerie Edition Roy (G)
Galerie von Waldenburg, Berlin (G)
European Art Gallery, Auction House Millennium, Rzeszow, Poland (G)
Galerie XXI, Warsaw (G)
2012 Galerie XXI, Warsaw (G)
Galerie von Waldenburg, Berlin (G)
2011 Galerie Sztuki Wspolczesnej BWA, Katowice, Poland (G)
Galerie Emilia Suciu, Ettlingen (G)
Galerie von Waldenburg, Berlin (G)
Galerie XXI, Warschau, Polen (G)
2010 Galerie Frau Ulli Lang, Biberach (S)
2. Internationaler André-Evard-Kunstpreis der Messmer Foundation, Messmer Foundation, Kunsthalle in Riegel (G)
Galerie Emilia Suciu zu Gast im Kunstverein Speyer, Kulturhof Flachgasse, Speyer (G)
Galerie XXI, Kielce, Poland (G)

Selected Public and Private Collections

  • Mondriaanhuis – Museum voor Construktieve en Konkrete Kunst, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  • Sammlung Grauwinkel, Berlin
  • Collezione Private A&M, Bologna
  • Marienhospital, Darmstadt
  • Forum für Konkrete Kunst, Erfurt
  • Ernst & Young, Wirtschaftsprüfgesellschaft, Eschborn
  • Städtische Kunstsammlungen für Geschichte und Kultur, Görlitz
  • Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, Hanoi
  • Museum Modern Art, Hünfeld
  • Museum Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt
  • Mazoweckie Centrum Sztuki, Radom, Poland
  • Sammlung Gomringer, Institut für konkrete Kunst, Rehau
  • Museum Pachen, Rockenhausen
  • Sammlung Dr. Bozéna Kowálska Nationalmuseum, Warsaw




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