By Philomena | June 19, 2012
TAGGED AS Daniel Buren, Excentrique(s) Travail In Situ, Installation, Light, Monumenta, Volume
Each year since 2007, Monumenta has invited a different art world luminary to create a site-specific work to fill the ‘monumental’ space of the Grand Palais in Paris. This year sees French artist Daniel Buren take the helm with Excentrique(s) Travail In Situ. Since 1965, Buren has solely worked ‘in situ’ as the central motive of his work has been to highlight and make the viewer aware of his surrounding environment, not solely the work itself. He sees his creations as “visual tools” that allow for this highlighting of the surrounds, rather than discrete objects to be proffered solely for the art market.
Buren is the first artist permitted to move the entrance to the Grand Palais to its little-used side entrance – away from the main central nave – and after I had accidentally wandered into the local police station next door I finally made it up the long and narrow corridor that leads inside and was immediately bowled over by Buren’s creation. 377 colored circles (almost equal amounts of blue, yellow, orange and green) made of plastic film and placed over steel frames hover over you, at once showing off the immense and existing volume of the space whilst seemingly transforming it into a forest of color and light. Feeling like Alice in Wonderland after she had taken the magic shrinking potion, I proceeded to walk through all 8500 sq metres of this transformed Grand Palais. Last years installation – Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan – also worked with the vastness of the space but did so by taking up almost the entirety it. Buren’s installation, clearly in dialogue with Kapoor, offers the perfect counterbalance to this; presenting the Grand Palais as an open field to be explored and physically experienced. Buren leaves the central nave of the Palais open, placing large circular mirrors within it that reflect the central dome and the sky beyond it, bringing the outside within. Viewers are asked to sit or walk on the mirrors, resulting in a feeling of corporal discombobulation in space. Sounds add to this altered sense of perception as numbers and colors – in forty different languages – are almost inaudibly piped into the space resulting in an almost meditative and church-like feeling. The space becomes ever changing according to its environment, the weather, daytime or nighttime so no two visits are ever the same. Mr Buren, thank you for creating this magical playground in magical Paris!
Excentrique(s) in situ sees the Grand Palais highlighted yet not transformed; volume, light and color are xxxx.