Laurent Grasso is an artist who divides his creative life between Paris and New York, so it is fitting that in September his work will take centre stage both at Paris’s Galerie Perrotin and at Sean Kelly in New York for solo shows. He will return to Paris in March 2015 for a third show at Galerie Valentin.
Grasso is fascinated by the act of observation. He is not only interested in the visual possibilities which arise from our scientific investigation of natural phenomena such as electromagnetic waves – creating visual representations of energy and wave movement found in places such as the Very Large Array Observatory in the desert of New Mexico – but by the fact that any observation is always a partial way of apprehending reality, creating spaces of uncertainty or doubt.
His work often intentionally manipulates imagery by imposing unusual perspectives which subvert the viewer’s instinct to accept what they see at face value. One of his most well-known works, Les Oiseaux, depicts a flock of starlings filmed in the dusk sky above Rome. Taken out of its natural context, the flock of birds resembles an ionic particle field, moved by unseen magnetic waves. He also extends his interest in observation to consider its use in surveillance, power and control.
Marta Gili, director of the Jeu de Paume in Paris says: “For Laurent Grasso, the point is not to test the truth of our suppositions, but to exploit their fractures and tensions and make them the raw material of his work. By extending the relationship between the known and the unknown, or contracting the distance between the visible and the unverifiable, Grasso reveals the asymmetry between seeing and being seen.”
The winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2008, Laurent Grasso has had many solo exhibitions throughout the world. He has also created works for public spaces. In 2008, his monumental neon Infinite Light was installed on Hunter College’s Lexington Avenue pedestrian walkway in New York. The following year, the artist created Nomiya (2009-2011), which remained on the rooftop of Palais de Tokyo for two years. Between sculpture and architecture, this project received international success and featured on the cover of Temporary Architecture Now (Taschen, 2010). In 2012, Du soleil dans la nuit was presented on the roof of the Samaritaine for the Nuit Blanche in Paris, France.
Laurent Grasso, September 06 – October 31 at Galerie Perrotin, 76 rue de Turenne – 75003 Paris. www.perrotin.com. 13 September – 18 October, at Sean Kelly, 475 Tenth Avenue New York NY 10018 www.skny.com.
From March 2015, Galerie Valentin, 9, rue Saint Gilles 75003 Paris, France. www.galeriechezvalentin.com
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1. Infinite Light, (2008) Installation view at Sean Kelly, New York, 2013 Photography: Jason Wyche, New York