Critics’ Picks

Cube #17 (Amber/Green), 2005.

Paris

Larry Bell

Galerie Templon | Paris
30 rue Beaubourg
May 4–June 7

Returning to the model of his trademark glass box, Larry Bell's new series of cubes, displayed here in his first solo exhibition in France, reveals the artist's continually evolving attentiveness to the perfection of construction and finish. Flawless pieces of glass are cut into clean squares and fastened together to make uniform cubes with dimensions slightly larger (20 x 20 x 20“) than his classic '60s boxes. Using a vacuum-coating process, Bell has treated the surfaces with Inconel, a metallic alloy that fractures light according to levels of oxidation and density. Shifting from opaque to translucent, the materials respond to light, and an object once solid and heavy seems to float and disappear. Like the older cubes on display in the Pompidou's ”Los Angeles“ exhibition across the road, these new works rest on clear Plexiglas plinths. Whereas Bell's '60s boxes were stepping stones to the development of larger Minimalist works implicating the surrounding physical space, these new iterations seem satisfied to exist as objects, precious and self-contained. Two ”New Vapor Drawings," works on paper from 2004, also demonstrate the artist's clever manipulation of materials. Light reflects off tiny metallic particles, creating the illusion of bands of color on black paper, illustrating Bell’s continual concern with natural phenomena and their potential for mechanical manipulation.