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© Galleria Continua - Julio Le Parc
Julio Le Parc : Aurora - 17 Sept. to 24 Dec. 2023
Galleria Continua / Les Moulins
46 Rue de la Ferté Gaucher
Le Moulin de Boissy-le-Châtel, 77169
GALLERIA CONTINUA is delighted to present the first exhibition dedicated to Julio Le Parc within its Les Moulins space, following an initial presentation shown at the gallery's Parisian space in the summer of 2023. An Argentine-born painter, sculptor, and visual artist who settled in France in 1958, Le Parc is a precursor of kinetic and Op Art and the winner of the Grand Prize in painting at the 33rd Venice Biennale's International Exhibition of Contemporary Art in 1966. Today, Julio Le Parc is celebrated as a pivotal figure in art history.
Staged at GALLERIA CONTINUA / Les Moulins with a museum-scale scenography, "Aurora" brings together a selection of nearly seventy works that represent the unique artistic language of the artist from the 1960s to the present, encompassing a variety of formats and mediums: acrylic paintings on canvas from iconic series, two- and three-dimensional modulations and contortions in stainless steel, wood, or metal, works from the historical and recent Light series, as well as a monumental installation over five meters high. The exhibition is complemented by a novel virtual reality feature.
The journey of "Aurora" begins on the ground floor of the Boissy Mill with a display of colorful canvas paintings, paying tribute to the beauty and complexity of the systems implemented by Julio Le Parc around the concept of surface, including pieces from the Series 15, started in the early 1970s. Julio Le Parc expanded his research to color as early as 1959. The artist not only eliminated any trace of manual execution, the "brushstroke," but also any subjective composition. Choosing fourteen colors that seemed to him to summarize all the possible variations of chromatic mixes, he used them pure, not graded either by black or white. From this palette, he created increasingly complex combinations, born of systems both rigorous and simple: starting from one or two ranges moving horizontally, the artist superimposed four ranges developed vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, and then sometimes four new ranges still.
A major work presented in the exhibition, composed of ten two-meter by two-meter paintings, "The Long March" was created in 1974 following a canceled major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, which Le Parc had decided on by a coin toss. The work is distinguished by its monumentality. It employs the system of fourteen prism chromatic colors in prismatic meshes that unfold in fluid and sinuous sequences, exploring the visual effects of superposition, weaving, and overlapping. The organization of the pictorial field is very little hierarchized: there is no dominant element, no center from which the forms radiate.
Representative of the artist's experiments with mobile elements, the monumental installation "Zepelin de acero," dating from 2021, presented for the first time at the Hermès Foundation in Tokyo and unprecedented in France, reinterprets the use of lightboxes characteristic of the artist's research around the medium of installation, this time obscured by the steel composing them. Through these devices, the artist questions a series of issues: the diversity of situations within the same experience, the notions of movement, instability, and probability, and the consideration of external contingencies to the work, in a characteristic distancing of his work from the notion of a stable, unique, and definitive work.
The journey continues on the first floor of the Boissy Mill with a selection of works entitled Modulations in two or three dimensions and in relief, all developed in shades of black and white, covering a period from 1965 to 2019.
The Modulations are part of a set of experiments continued since the end of 1974, whose theme originates in the last elements treated with the range of fourteen colors, as well as in the research on real volumes undertaken by the artist since 1960. The technique used (airbrush, spray painting) allows for a gradient from dark to light and a fairly precise modulation of the surface, leading him to develop new themes, and to explore a new field of research. Continuing the artist's experiments on the plane, these works continue to be based on simple systems of organization, the correlation of forms depending on the same principle in each case. Thus, the artist wishes to reconsider his certainties, never ceasing to submit his discoveries to reflection and analysis.
A major part of the recent developments in Le Parc's work, the contortions presented (Torsion 1 to 4 dating from 2004, Contorted Forms of 2019) are exceptional in that they demonstrate the play of chance, the play of light, and the surprise of movement. This emblematic movement given to the form originates from certain sets from the series of Surprise Movements. The process uses flexible mirrored steel ribbons forming circles placed on a black background, in front of which they slowly deform thanks to a mechanical action coordinated by motors of different speeds.
Within the dark room of the Boissy Mill, the exhibition also presents a selection of luminous works rarely shown together in France, including Continual Mobile Light (1963-2013), Continual Light Box (1959-1965), and Continual Light with Four Contorted Forms (1966-2012). Initiated at the end of 1959, Julio Le Parc's experiments with light cast light rays into small boxes whose aim is to reproduce, multiply, and combine, using screens composed of plexiglass plates in the shape of prisms, squares, and circles using the range of fourteen colors.
The artist seeks to grasp the potential of chromatic variations thus induced, and to manifest them in a single visual field. Rooted in movement, these experiments adhere to the artist's cherished principle of distancing from a fixed, stable, and definitive work. The viewer is captivated by the development of a multitude of changes, the uniform support of the elements or forms accentuating the instability highlighted. These works are characterized by their structure and at the same time by their absence of any composition.
Completing the exhibition, GALLERIA CONTINUA presents for the first time the VIRTUAL LABYRINTHUS MUSEUM project by Julio Le Parc in a virtual reality setup. Designed by Julio Le Parc in collaboration with Juan Le Parc, using video game programming tools, Julio Le Parc's VIRTUAL LABYRINTHUS MUSEUM offers an interactive visit in a virtual museum space composed of five levels, corresponding to the five pictorial periods of Julio Le Parc: Surfaces, Surface - Color, Modulation 1, Modulation 2, and Alchemy.
Julio Le Parc (born in 1928 in Mendoza, Argentina, lives and works in Cachan, France since 1958), a key figure in kinetic and contemporary art, was one of the co-founders of the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV) in Paris in 1960, alongside Horacio Garcia Rossi, Francisco Sobrino, François Morellet, Joël Stein, and Jean-Pierre Vasarely (Yvaral). The artist has participated in numerous solo exhibitions in leading museums and institutions such as the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Perez Art Museum, Miami; and the Serpentine Gallery, London, among others. This socially engaged artist, a defender of human rights, fought against the dictatorship in Latin America, and was temporarily expelled from France in May 1968, after participating in the Atelier populaire and its demonstrations against major institutions.
Artistic Director: Yamil Le Parc
Workshop and Team Director: Eduardo Berrelleza