Comprising twenty-five painted wooden plinths, Vingt-cinq Lattes exemplifies Daniel Buren’s signature striped aesthetic. Rendered in a variety of media throughout his career, including mirror, canvas as well as wood, granite, marble, concrete, water, etc. Buren’s trademark pattern of alternating vertical white and coloured stripes — with always two very immutable aspects : 1. the size of the stripes = 8,7 cm ; 2. the white — forms the touchstone of his conceptual practice.
As a member of the Paris-based group Buren-Mosset-Parmentier-Toroni, which did exist from December 1966 till October 1967, with the aim of challenging traditional artistic boundaries, Buren sought a new ‘zero-degree’ for painting. Over the course of five decades, through a variety of site-specific interventions in public and institutional spaces, his stripes became what he termed a ‘visual tool’: a motif through which he sought to interrogate the very nature of art.
Though minimal in their aesthetic, Buren’s works fundamentally oppose the Minimalist notion of autonomous, non-referential works of art, most famously propagated by Donald Judd in his seminal 1965 essay Specific Objects. ‘My visual tool … changes meaning in each intervention,’ Buren explained, ‘it is an ‘object’ without any autonomy … A neutral sign allows reading, rereading, and connecting. It contradicts or emphasizes its surroundings. It would be a mistake to believe that it neutralizes its surroundings’ (D. Buren, quoted in ‘Conversation between Daniel Buren and Pierre Huyghe, Daniel Buren New Situated Works, exh. cat., Lisson Gallery, London, 2007, unpaged). Conceived as self-reflexive interrogations of the space we inhabit, Buren’s stripes subtly transform their surroundings, prompting the viewer to look beyond the work of art itself.