Niele Toroni was born in 1937 in Locarno-Muralto. He lives and works in Paris.
At the 1967 Salon de la Jeune Peinture in Paris, Toroni with Buren, Mosset and Parmentier presented themselves controversially as "not painters" with a collective exhibition in which the chromatic and compositional rules were shattered by the attempt to return to a methodical and primordial painting.
From then on, the radical nature and the desire to restart from scratch characterize the works of the Swiss artist Toroni. The lack of subjectivity and narration of his own experience or of the external reality highlights a decisive recovery of the very essence of the artistic gesture. Toroni’s method, which has never changed since 1967, consists of the application of colour onto a flat surface – which might be canvas, paper, newspaper, wall or wood – of the imprints of a no. 50 brush at regular distances of 30 centimetres. He concentrates painting into a simple action which does completely without narrative or invention. The uniformity of his method is given by the spatial steadiness of the stroke distance and by the mechanical gesture of the artist that defines an unmistakable formal rhythm. In this way, painting becomes only a means to express its own materiality, differing only for colours and surface. The systematic, rhythmic and geometric work, the steadiness of the imprint, counterbalanced by its endless possibilities of variation, leads to the diversification of the work itself.
“Niele Toroni has been repeating his brush imprints in time and space. But it is never the same thing because the same is the same and the same is obstinately dissociated from being identical.” (Harald Szeemann)
“My biggest utopia or, if you prefer, my biggest foolishness, is to believe that there is still the possibility to do something after Pollock without using pre-existing forms, either by appreciating or depreciating them.” (Niele Toroni)