The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) presents Laurent Grasso: Uraniborg, artist’s first major exhibition in Québec or anywhere in Canada, and the largest ever held in North America.
The exhibition offers a unique foray into space and time, two themes that lie at the heart of Laurent Grasso’s approach. For the Uraniborg exhibition, the artist has created a device that alters the architecture of the venue in order to probe the modalities of perception. The device refers to the architecture of the Uraniborg, the last observatory built to perform measurements with the naked eye. Grasso’s latest film work, “Uraniborg”, 2012, which is part of the exhibition, also takes its title from this unique place.
Conceived as a artwork in itself, “Uraniborg” transforms the museum’s exhibition galleries in a way that echoes the panoptic constructions studied by Foucault and destabilizes viewers by blurring their spatial and temporal points of reference. In this imposing labyrinthine architecture, visitors are drawn into a long corridor broken up by windows offering a glimpse of videos, paintings, drawings, neon works, sculptures and artifacts of history and mythology. This distinctive layout creates parallel worlds and experiential spaces, leading viewers to continually readjust their positions and their benchmarks with respect to the works they are looking at.
The history of observation—and its connection to political power—also plays a pivotal role in his work and acts as a starting point for a broader examination of seeing, controlling and monitoring, at the same time as it opens up a path to possible worlds. Laurent Grasso’s work incorporates video, sculpture, painting, drawing and exhibition devices, combining documentary, historical and mythological sources as long as they hold aesthetic and fictional potential.
Exhibition coproduced by Jeu de Paume, Paris, and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.