Julio Le Parc

Born in 1929 in Mendoza, Argentina, lives and works in Cachan, France
Member of the G.R.A.V

A Story of Light – Paris, July 2008

He’ll soon be eighty years old, four times twenty, yet he probes the world with his piercing blue eyes, revealing its mysteries with passion, and enthusiastically embarks on the adventure of life as if the passing breeze of age had spared him. Surrounded by his works, new canvases and new sculptures always in mid-pro-duction, his head so filled with projects one might consider him self-indulgent if he didn’t complete them methodically, one after the other. The tall, slender, and charming Julio Le Parc has become a major figure in contemporary art. He still has all the fervor that urged the teenager from Mendoza, who started work at four teen, to always go one step fur ther along the global paths of artistic creation. From Mendoza to Buenos Aires and, in 1958, from Buenos Aires to Paris as a scholarship holder, he fought for a better society and believed in “the city of light which, through the driving force generated by man, will overcome the obscurity of death”.

What better way of illustrating movement is there than through light? Julio Le Parc infuses his creations with the majestic grace of the geometric simplicity of light. He masters it by embodying it.A series of precise figures stream out of black boxes, to coincide with the birth of television. Light produces heat; tiny mirrored squares gradually begin to move faster and faster, and shadows weave in and out of the magic space. Le Parc replaces brushwork with beams of light: stop the movement and the brightness of the beam flickers no longer. Op Ar t? Kinetic ar t? Yes indeed, but above all poetic ar t: poetic and playful ar t which is accessible to everyone, whose meaning is obvious and outside of all cultural barriers, much to the delight of the spectator, whose happiness should never be neglected.

Light darts across space, a paradoxical form of kinetic art, and combines with sounds to create strange mechanisms belonging to a technology today relegated to archaeology. Long before video, the world of the plasma screen, and the social multiplication of images, Le Parc’s light boxes appeared as the pared-down ancestors of computer-generated pixel art. Plastic and multiple, the visual instability of the light that he models enables the spectator to perceive space and time. The sidereal dimension of Le Parc’s ode to light responds to the mobile forms of his sculptures, like flashes of lightning precede thunder on a stormy night. Julio Le Parc’s light boxes undeniably have a place in ar t histor y, but they are also par t of the uni- versal story of light whose mysteries have barely begun to be revealed.

Lélia Mordoch