Line, circle, triangle, square, rectangle: it is not simple geometry, it is logic, movement, exploration. Light: unstable, variable, perpetual, flows and plays. Color: pure, illusory, alchemical, it catches the eye. This word series is the basis of a multiform and multi-chromatic art, a visual research, a bodily research, an objective research. Rigorous principles underpin the artistic research and endure with great relevance.
Op Art, Concrete Art, Kinetic Art, Activist Art, Spatial Art, Installation Art, Light Art: Julio Le Parc – Argentinean artist, French by adoption born in 1928 – contributed to the development of each of these aesthetic movements, being part of them at first before developing an independent way. Through elementary forms, playing with an accurate range of colors, the artist creates works with pointillist flows, in a rhythmic and enveloping sequence. For Le Parc, the role of the spectator became fundamental from his first interactions with the art world. When he founded GRAV (Group de Recherche d’Art Visuel) in Paris in the 1960s, he and other exponents noticed that the audience was detached due to the influence of movements such as Tachisme, Lyrical Abstraction and Informal Art. With the first experiments and studies on the visual spectrum, with movement and light, the viewer took consistency until the work itself was completed.
The artist claims that all his works are experiences created in the process of looking, manifesting instability in its most abstract form. The eye follows a kind of chromatic mutation given by as many as fourteen colors. The first works that Le Parc created in Paris were in black and white, and later also in grey: compositions of geometric shapes on cardboard and canvas, gridded or linear, precisely ordered. The systems that governed these compositions were fundamental: a way of limiting the expressive role of the artist and creating a relationship as direct as possible between the work and the viewer. Gradually, the artist began to bring color into the frame, progressively expanding his rainbow palette, which starts with one pigment, turns around and returns to the same: yellow, green, blue, violet, red, orange and then yellow again. These color permutations are the only hues that appear in his works, from then until today, in rigid, undulating and fluid patterns.
To coincide with his ninety-fifth birthday (ndr), Galleria Continua celebrates Julio Le Parc with his first exhibition in the spaces of Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano entitled 1958 → 2023. A retrospective of sixty-five years with works never exhibited before, highlighting the artistic and historical maturity and cultural influence that the artist has produced. Going back over the years, from the entrance to the spaces to the last room, the large number of works includes not only the latest paintings, but also preparatory drawings in elementary forms, greyscale gouaches, and kinetic works that modulate light. The multicolored works from the Alchimie series are emblematic of his visual and chromatic research. They are slow gestation paintings, transformative as the title itself alludes to, experiments in optical illusion. The subtle dots of color gradations and tone give life to illusionistic images that invade the observer’s perception, repeating themselves in a dancing sequence, ideally escaping from the painting. Their brilliance is enhanced by the viewer’s gaze in natural light, even in conjunction with kinetic sculptures created by the artist himself.
With Continuel mobile lozenge blanc translucide suspended from the ceiling, the plexiglas louvres play with light and its transparencies, take on a life of their own and animate the space in extraordinary colors. Color, movement, light and viewer complete the work. Julio Le Parc is undoubtedly an expert in color, a variety aesthete of colored repetition. Relating to the other – which on an artistic level has also touched upon the social and political – is the sine qua non of research years and experimentation. As for the use of light, he made himself a master for the contemporary world.
Julio Le Parc. 1958 → 2023
23/09/2023 – 14/01/2024
Piazza della Cisterna 26, San Gimignano (SI)
Art Curator and Art Advisor, graduated in Visual Arts and Cultural Mediation, with Master in Curatorial Practices, born in 1995, lives in Naples. He collaborates with Galleries and Independent Spaces, his research is mainly focused on Emerging Painting, with a careful and inclined gaze also on other forms of aesthetic language.