Galería RGR is pleased to present Julio Le Parc: Visual Encounters, the first solo exhibition by the historic French-Argentine artist Julio Le Parc at the gallery, which brings together historical works along with more recent ones from the artist's career. The set evidences the artist's dedication and insistence on experimentation and research.
Julio Le Parc (Mendoza, Argentina, 1928) is one of the most recognized figures in the field of research and experimental visual arts. His influence extends from the mid-20th century to the present day, leaving an important legacy in modern op-art and kinetic art.
The exhibition emphasizes the experimental quality of Le Parc's artistic practice, which goes beyond kineticism and geometric abstractionism. In addition, his experimentation aims to rethink the way in which value is assigned in contemporary art. According to the artist, the value of a work of art is not established, but is always "active" and in constant transformation.
For Le Parc it is essential that the work links the subject with the real and social space, so in this way one can become aware of the experience of phenomena. In this sense, artistic value is not found in the materiality of the object, nor in the spectator, but in the interaction between subject and work.
Based on two-dimensional and mobile three-dimensional works, belonging to three different moments in Julio Le Parc's career, the exhibition presents experiments that allow the human experience -in relation to art- to be diversified. Five series are on display, Surface-Couleur (1959 - 2022), Lumière (1959 - 2022), Continuels-Mobils (1960 - 2022), Déplacement (1963 - 2022) and Alchimie (1988 - 2022). Each series reveals how Le Parc's explorations -in the fields of light, movement and perception- have not only visual dimensions, but also social and technological ones.
In Surface Couleur Julio Le Parc gives equal privilege to form and color; two elements that allow him to generate diverse variations and to think about the indeterminate duration of these components.
Since 1959, Julio Le Parc began to experiment with color without the objective of making colorism. He composed a complete range of fourteen colors that, in his opinion, summarized all the possible variations of chromatic mixtures. His experiments consisted in making compositions from only those 14 colors. What impressed him was the number of possible changes contained in each program. It gave him pleasure to imagine all these variations happening in time.
His calculations on the probabilities of combinations made him reflect on time and movement on the surface. At that time he had calculated that to execute all the variations resulting from a single system and at a rate of two days per variation, it would have taken him 150 years.
At the beginning of 1988, the first Alchimie appeared from small sketches. According to Le Parc, these designs are the product of ideas arising from fortuitous observations that -little by little- become concrete, impose themselves and finally claim the right to exist. What were initially a multitude of drawings became the starting points for other ideas and larger pictures.
In Alchimie Julio Le Parc starts with a black background and then distributes, practically all over the canvas, violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and red dots. The geometric figures created on the surface are the result of an optical illusion, since they are sequences of dots that the eye observes as continuous strokes. The colored dots converge in space to create new tonalities, give depth and even play with light and shadow. In this lies Le Parc's constant research on the work of the human eye to incite the sensory experience that is given by the combination of seeing, creating and feeling.
According to Julio Le Parc, the first experiences with light were made at the end of 1959 giving rise to his Lumière series. In them, light was used in small boxes, in order to reproduce, combine and multiply, with screens made up of plexiglass plates in shape of prisms, squares and circles.
This same principle was applied in other experiences, derived from the handling of the materials and the differentiation of the problems. In this case, it was not the purpose creating luminous paintings. For Le Parc, experimentation with light was aimed at apprehending the potential of variations and manifesting it in a single visual field. Light was the resource by which, in different ways, the viewer was circumscribed and placed within a phenomenon.
With these experiments Le Parc found great potential to problematize the notions of movement, instability and probability. The series Continuel Mobils emphasizes the contingencies external to the work and the visual experiences they give rise to. In this way, Le Parc moved away from the notion of a stable, unique and definitive work. In the artist's own words, the series addressed the "multiple variety of situations in the same experience".
The research in the series Déplacement focuses on the spectator's experience and the phenomenon generated when moving in front of the work. With his movement, the spectator was able to expand the work. Le Parc was interested in producing this effect within the very constitution of the work, which resulted in several experiments.
First he began experimenting with lumaline (metallized celluloid mirror) by making curved reflective plates that deformed the images. Then followed works that relied essentially on the displacement of the viewer; among them, those in which the predetermined subject yields its place to the surrounding images. A panel of reflective plates fractionates and multiplies the images on the side opposite the viewer, who in turn is fractionated and multiplied by another viewer on the other side of the panel.
Julio Le Parc's interest in involving the viewer in the constitution of art led him to develop a creative process that opens up the possibility of infinite compositions. For Le Parc, the simultaneous presence between the work of art and the viewer produces the emergence of the contemporary subject, with a new historical and social consciousness. This is of great importance for the artist, since he wants people to reflect on the place that art should occupy in mass and consumer culture.