Puerta Roja for the first time in Asia presents the works of bamboo sculptor, Laurent Martin “Lo” and the return of renowned digital artist Miguel Chevalier in it’s upcoming exhibition “Intangible Space”, opening on 12 May 2016 as part of Le French May’s 2016 programme.
The exhibition searches for an in-depth dialogue between virtual and physical territories, natural and artificial constructions; it explores the ways in which different artistic mediums: virtual projections, 2D and 3D digital prints and sculptures create new incorporeal spaces and challenge our perception of what is tangible and real.
The three-dimensionality in Lo’s gravity-defying bamboo sculptures re-define our understanding of the space and the reality within. The structures swing in the air, drawing curves of harmony like the gracious strokes of Chinese calligraphy. His creations immerse the viewer in the physical and sensorial virtues of the bamboo. Closely bound to the forces of nature, Lo starts shaping each sculpture manipulating living bamboo. Following the knots and fibres of the plant, the sculptures’ structure is shaped using tension and fishing rods. The bamboo is then dried for months, exposed to the strong Mediterranean elements. This intervention is the basis for the final pieces which are constructed with the organic material, fishing lines and metal and ceramic weights. Like Calder’s mobiles, the sculptures follow strict mathematical laws of movement and balance. His manipulation of the bamboo plants from solid canes to thin and articulating contours, creates mobile sculptures where the artwork consists of not only the bamboo itself, but also the intangible hollow space within and the shadows and silhouettes they project. A fragile harmony is achieved through opposites: flexibility and strength, fullness and void, light and shadow, movement and quietness.
In the case of Miguel Chevalier, his virtual works also relate back to the essence of the natural world and the life cycle. The movement in the generative digital works derives from the DNA of constantly changing and evolving flowers. Whilst most of the artist’s works are often large-scale, the exhibition will present more intimate observations transposed within a digital universe. The process of developing computer-created coloured plant forms is in fact directed by software conceived specifically by the artist. Miguel Chevalier creates “virtual seeds”, allowing them to grow, come to fruition, die, and be reborn – giving birth to an infinite variety of forms and landscapes in a generative virtual reality.
Beyond their aesthetic and playful qualities, the works question both the status of the work of art in the digital era and the stakes involved with genetic manipulation. Nothing can predict what these “fractal flowers” might produce, free as they are to infinitely cross and reproduce, constantly transforming, never repeating. The idea of intangibility is questioned not only in light of their virtual nature, but also as the images flourish for the first and last time, never to reappear in the physical world.