A leading conceptual artist, Laurent Grasso (b. France) has consistently engaged epistemology and addressed, in particular, one’s perception of time. In many instances, his works originate from research into historical or scientific documents, subsequently evolving into portrayals of mystical events, legends, supernatural phenomena and other captivating subject matter. Across a variety of mediums, from painting to video, Grasso probes our notions of temporality, suggesting that what we visually retain is intrinsically tied to our personal consciousness. A mix of the past, present and future, moving back and forth between reality and fiction, Grasso has been widely acclaimed for his works that serve as an apparatus for viewing the world through different lenses, unveiling new histories in bold and elaborate pictures.
‘Soleil Noir’ presents a new body of work, ranging from sculpture to neon, video and painting, that engages with cosmic energy and portrayals of the sublime, whilst also integrating elements of Grasso’s recent research on Japan. Following from a previous work, the “Black Sun” motif is repeated, an element that neutralises time whilst posing perennial riddles. When conducting his studies in Japan, Grasso found himself inspired by dogu (clay figures), Noh masks, gold-leaf-covered folding screens and other traditional Japanese expressions. Running through the exhibition are works that incorporate these features, whilst combining them with images from Medieval Europe. Further works, ranging from gold screens to sculpture, reflect upon supernatural legends spurred during the Edo period and weave mysterious Japanese architectural structures within their narrative. Melded into a reformulated framework of the exhibition space through the insertion of wooden panels, Grasso prompts a reflection on the surrounding architecture whilst building a dialogue around geographical, historical and literary exchange, evoking a passage of time.
Courtesy of Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Edouard Malingue Gallery