Place for archiving, researching and transmitting born in 1994 that explores Land Art both in historical, critical and prospective perspective. It is aimed at “an audience as wide as possible” (Gerry Schum)
Founded by Marc de Verneuil (architect, critic)

Lieu d'archivage, de recherche et de transmission né en 1994 qui explore le Land Art dans une perspective aussi bien historique, critique que prospective. Il s’adresse à «un public aussi large que possible» (Gerry Schum)
Fondé par Marc de Verneuil (architecte, critique)

« Le Land Art est une pure fiction ; voilà pourquoi nous l'observons »
Land Art is purely fictional; that is why we observe it” (OBSART)

lundi 2 juillet 2012

Time At Work: 340t / 340g displaced

340 grammes déplacés… during Levitated Mass by  Michael Heizer (3rd Day)
West Coast, France, Nantes, Feb 29  - March 10, 2012
Dust from the vault of the Chartres Cathedral.
 Photo : Régis Perray. © Galerie Gourvennec-Ogor

CONTEMPORARY ART | Very early man felt the need to witness his sojourn on earth by carving rock. It was 20,000 years ago. The Neolithic era is when he begins to move rock—but also large volumes of earth—in order to create sites or works sometimes very sophisticated, at Stonehenge, Er Grah, Silbury Hill, Carnac... These ancestral practises, of which traces can be particularly found in the beginning of our era in Nazca, are reactivated in the XXth century by the precursors and pioneers of Land Art, notably Isamu Noguchi, Group “I”, Richard Long, Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson,  and of course Michael Heizer. Today, these practises continue to inspire a wider new generation of artists (Nikolaj Recke, Jorge Satorre...) in which Régis Perray is included.

Michael Heizer, Régis Perray: two artists, two periods, two attitudes, two forms, two visions of the world, two conceptions of art, two practises of ground, two apprehensions of space and matter and collective memory. One has moved tons of rocks since the late 60s with his bulldozers, excavators and cranes; the other rather handles grams, since the mid-90s, with his broom, sponges, scrapers and his mini construction machines. Double standards. Two sets of rules. Observatoire du Land Art curated a meeting by proposing Régis Perray to perform a symbolic action echoing the pharaonic displacement of Michael Heizer’s boulder, before its permanent installation above the gigantic trench constructed on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus. 
Between February 28 and March 10, 2012, Perray moved each day on the French West coast 340 grams of dust with a small dumper, while each night, on the American West coast, a monumental transporter was delivering Heizer’s 340-ton rock to LACMA. Because of the jet lag between Los Angeles and Nantes, both displacements occurred simultaneously. The remote experience of the very slow progress of the 295-foot long convoy was like a projection of oneself onto the journey, which was envisioned as such by proxy through Perray's action. If the meeting between the pioneer artist of the great American outdoors and the old Europe-based young artist could be surprising a priori, the nature of their interventions and operating methods put them only seemingly at odds. This confrontation actually reveals affinities regarding their apprehension of the world.
Both, by their full commitment in works which merge art and life, by their deep-rooted attachment to the earth, to the ground and to the question of vacuum, by their fascination with the desert and their contemporary look at Ancient Civilizations, lead us to reflections that go beyond the matter they move. Beyond the feats of engineering, entertainment and beautiful pictures, well over economic or ecological controversies, they convey two universals: we are all affected by gravity / we will all return to dust. 
Michael Heizer combines a several-million-year old rock with a concrete structure built only a few months ago and meant to last over 3,500 years. Régis Perray gathered a few grams of dust from the vault of Chartres Cathedral, “a place that is younger than Heizer’s rock, but older than the history of the United States.” From matter, we are drifting into time, toward a thought about time. Ta meta ta phusika… Heizer / Perray, toward a metaphysic of art?

Marc de Verneuil and Mel Rushmore
June 24, 2012

Article commissioned by
Observatoire de l'Art Contemporain.
See Revue de décryptage / section : Tendance à suivre... (24/06/12).

Thank you to all the people for their support, sharing and/or their expertise, throughout this transatlantic action launched last summer, including: Rick Albrecht (Emmert International), Carson Blaker, Miranda Carroll et John Bowsher (LACMA), Linda Gordon, Barry Lehrman, Hikmet Loe, Christian Mayeur, Michel Minor, Serge Paul, Johannes Peeters, Carrière Plo, Martine Pochard, William Poundstone, Doug Pray, Nina Rodrigues-Ely, Wendy Rudder, Jean-François Santoro, Grace Smith, Gilles Tiberghien, Denis Thomas, Deborah Vankin (LA Times), Laurent, Nicole, Patrick et Yvan de Verneuil, Patrick Villedieu, Catherine Wagley (LA Weekly), Woman in the Middle, Janet Zimmerman.

Thanks to Hubert for his unwavering support.

Thank you again to Hikmet Loe for her rereading of this translation. 

Many thanks to Michael Govan (LACMA) for his long-standing commitment to promoting Land Art, Zev Yaroslavsky (Los Angeles County Supervisor) and Scott Tennent (LACMA) for their numerous articles that have been so helpful, Danny Johnston for finding the rock in 2006, Stephen Vander Hart (Stone Valley Quarry), Shannon & Wilson, Buro Happold, MATT Construction and all people involved in this project we may have forgotten.

Thank you also to all the generous donors, without whom Levitated Mass would probably never have been possible: Jane and Terry Semel, Bobby Kotick, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Beth and Joshua Friedman, Steve Tisch Family Foundation, Elaine Wynn, Linda, Bobby, and Brian Daly, Richard Merkin, MD, and the Mohn Family Foundation.

And, of course, a huge thank you to Michael Heizer and Régis Perray; to the former for this gift offered to posterity, and to the latter for having accepted to accompany us in this adventure.
The publication date of this text coincides with the Opening ceremony day of Levitated Mass.

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